The Premier League are still determined to press on with ‘Project Restart’ as they seek to resume the 2019/20 season, but the idea has been fraught with difficulties.
Mirror Online reports: “Clubs near the bottom of the division are known to be opposed to the idea that all remaining matches will have to take place at between 8-10 neutral venues around the country, thereby removing the home advantage that they see as crucial in a relegation battle.
With concerns over coronavirus testing and player welfare also still on the table, clubs are still thought to be apart on several issues ahead of their next meeting on Monday, a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out new plans for emerging from lockdown.
“It is still likely that the Premier League season will be played to a finish, but if it isn’t then a new method of deciding it could soon emerge from Leagues One and Two,” the report said.
“As opposed to the straight PPG system that has been proposed in other leagues, the weighted system will take into account the fact that clubs have differing numbers of home and away games left in their fixture calendars.
“In this system, the PPG for each club both at home and away have been worked out and multiplied by the amount of home and away matches they play, i.e. 19 of each in the Premier League.
“These figures are then added to a club’s actual points to give them a final total.
“So, while it is extremely unlikely to happen in the Premier League, our friends at Stoke-on-Trent Live have taken a look at what the top-flight could look like under a weighted PPG system.
“The table shows that West Ham would end up being the biggest losers as they drop into the bottom three and are relegated by an agonising 0.18 points, with Bournemouth and Watford sitting above them, both on 35.74 points.
“Aston Villa and Norwich would also go down, while at the top Liverpool would end up just shy of 30 points clear of Manchester City as they end on 107.21 points.
“Leicester and Chelsea make up the rest of the top four, with Manchester United edging out Sheffield United for fifth and potentially taking a Champions League spot depending on City’s European ban.
Mirror Online reported at that time that it was understood that “top-flight clubs were told on Friday that the remaining matches of the 2019-20 season must be played at neutral venues”.
In a letter to the FA Council, sent on Friday, Clarke said: “The reality is that we just don’t know how things are going to pan out.
“But with social distancing in place for some time to come we do face substantial changes to the whole football ecosystem.
Clarke added that the ongoing uncertainty means that the board has agreed a “sensible” £75million budget cut.
He said: “In a worst-case scenario, this would be necessary for the next four years to offset a £300m deficit.”