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Men’s football Police to have input on neutral venues depending on fixtures

POLICE will look at the final proposed Premier League fixture list before recommending whether any games in London should be moved to neutral venues.

None of the five matches that local forces have requested be switched to neutral venues is in the capital, according to Britain’s football-policing lead, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police.

However, London mayor Sadiq Khan has expressed strong misgivings about staging matches in the capital during the coronavirus pandemic

Tottenham’s match against north-London rivals Arsenal is one of the matches still to be played, as is Spurs against West Ham. The Hammers also have a home game against Chelsea at the London Stadium.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: “While agreement has been reached as to when the season may recommence, the plans for this to happen are still being finalised.

“We remain in contact with all the relevant bodies and will make plans as necessary when we receive a final proposed schedule for games.”

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told Sky Sports last week that he hoped the final number of matches needing to be played at neutral venues would be kept as low as possible.

That is still a world away from the position at the start of May, when clubs were told that all matches would have to be played at eight to 10 neutral venues for the season to be completed.

Liverpool City Council’s safety advisory group is due to meet next week. Everton are hoping it will allow them to stage the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on the weekend of June 19-22.

The match had been one of the five fixtures in the remainder of the 2019-20 Premier League season which Deputy Chief Constable Roberts said was set to be played at a neutral venue at the request of the local force.

Merseyside Police appeared to contradict DCC Roberts on Friday by saying they had no objections to policing matches in Liverpool.

The remaining matches were Manchester City’s home games against Liverpool and Newcastle, Manchester United v Sheffield United and Newcastle v Liverpool.

The list also included provision for any game at which runaway league leaders Liverpool could secure the title to be played at a neutral ground.

Premier League clubs will gather for a shareholders’ meeting today to discuss a wide variety of topics, including return-to-play protocols and a curtailment framework.

Last week the league’s television-rights holders set out plans for how to screen the remaining 92 matches.

Amazon announced today that its four matches would be made available free to air, to go alongside Sky Sports’ pledge to do the same with 25 of its 64 games and the BBC’s four terrestrial matches.

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