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Watford rebuff Premier League neutral venue proposals


Watford have followed Brighton and Aston Villa in publicly opposing the use of neutral venues in the Premier League’s proposed Project Restart plan.

Hornets chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury says it would compromise fairness and sporting integrity.

It is understood that Premier League clubs are not planning to vote on whether to use neutral venues at a meeting tomorrow.

The vote looks likely to be held later in May and 14 of the 20 clubs must vote in favour for it to be adopted.And while three have now made their opposition to the proposal known, it is understood others have similar feelings.Before voting, league bosses are also awaiting government guidance on the criteria for bio-security at events and ground-safety licensing, which is expected later next week.

‘No semblance of sporting integrity’“I, of course, absolutely accept we cannot have supporters in the stadium,” Duxbury wrote in The Times. “That goes without saying in the present situation.

“However, we are now told we cannot play our remaining home games at Vicarage Road and the familiarity and advantage that brings. This against a backdrop of players who, having seen their lives turned upside down along with the rest of the world, are suddenly expected to perform as if nothing has happened, despite the rest of society probably still facing the kind of restrictions unenforceable on a football pitch.

“We have club medical staff working under conditions that no doctor or physio has ever experienced with guidelines that, in no small part, are based at this stage on supposition rather than scientific fact.

And with all these compromises and health risks we are asked to finish a competition that bears no resemblance to the one we started, which could end a small club like Watford’s time in the Premier League.“So is this fair? Does it have any semblance of sporting integrity? Of course not.”


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Scott DuxburyWatford
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