LONDON: Police have listed the Premier League games they want moved to neutral venues, which include the Merseyside derby and any other Liverpool game where they could win the title.
Liverpool’s game with Everton, scheduled to be played on the first weekend of the resumption of the Premier League, is one of the games police definitely want moved.
Jurgen Klopp’s side could secure the title in the Merseyside derby should Man City lose to Arsenal on June 17, but if they don’t then police want “the game in which Liverpool could secure the league title” to be played on a neutral ground.
Authorities fear Liverpool fans will congregate around the stadium where the Reds will finally end their 30-year title drought officially – especially if that were to be at Anfield.
The matches which have been officially requested to take place at neutral grounds are Manchester City v Liverpool, Manchester City v Newcastle, Manchester United v Sheffield United, Newcastle v Liverpool and Everton v Liverpool.
Deputy chief constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, the UK’s football policing lead, said in a statement issued to the PA news agency: “Our discussions with the Premier League throughout this process have been positive, with a shared focus on the priority of public health.
“As such we have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing.
“The majority of remaining matches will be played at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed.
“The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.
“This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums.”
Newcastle, in 13th, are the lowest-ranked side to be involved in a match at a neutral venue as things stand.
There had been complaints from some clubs towards the bottom of the table, including Brighton, about the impact of playing at neutral venues on sporting integrity.
Clubs will hold further discussions on whether to proceed with the season on this basis when they meet again on June 4.
The police statement did not mention any matches in the English Football League.
Championship clubs are back in training with a view to restarting next month, and an EFL spokesperson said: “It remains our intention to play all remaining league matches at clubs’ home grounds as long as they comply with the relevant Government guidance.
“We will only seek to move matches if they are not permitted by the relevant local authority, following any representations from the local police force.”