Brighton were among a number of teams who had wanted to preserve home advantage when games returned behind closed doors.
But after a 3½-hour video meeting of the 20 “shareholder” clubs, plans to use “eight to ten neutral stadiums” were given the thumbs-up.
Clubs confirmed their target of starting general training from May 18, with the first Prem fixtures now pencilled in for Friday, June 12 — the same date Euro 2020 would have kicked off.
SunSport first told you about plans to use neutral venues to play out the season on March 18.
The grounds, all of which will be current Prem stadiums, will be confirmed in the next two weeks.
But police concerns over using congested urban areas and fans converging in the vicinity of the stadiums — and potentially causing coronavirus-spreading clusters — will mean grounds including
Anfield and Stamford Bridge being ruled out.
SunSport understands the strongest candidates for the eight grounds in the Premier League are:
- Brighton’s Amex and Southampton’s St Mary’s on the south coast.
- West Ham’s London Stadium and Arsenal’s Emirates home in the capital.
- Leicester’s King Power and Aston Villa’s ground, Villa Park, in the Midlands.
- Old Trafford and the Etihad in Manchester, providing a north west base.
Wembley and St George’s Park are understood to have been discounted as options.
But no club will play in their own stadium, to try to ensure a degree of equality in the unprecedented circumstances.
And while six clubs are understood to have voiced some significant doubts over whether the desire to finish the campaign is wise, the majority view was to push ahead as long as there is
clearance from the Government.
It also means that when Liverpool seal the title — as seems likely with a 25-point lead over second-placed Manchester City — it will NOT be at Anfield.
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