Norwich City could yet still play their remaining five home games at Carrow Road after the 20 Premier League clubs failed to reach an agreement on the use of neutral grounds.
After Monday’s video meeting between the Premier League’s stakeholders, the Canaries also issued an email to supporters explaining that the process of refunding them for both season tickets, casual tickets and hospitality packages, including the FA Cup quarter final, will begin in the very near future.
It would appear to acknowledge for the first time that the remaining games will be played behind closed doors. However, according to the Independent it seems that the Football Association have told the Premier League that the 2019/20 season must be finished on sporting merit.
“It means that issues like relegation, top four and the title must be settled by either playing the remaining fixtures, or a mathematical formula based on games played, with a weighted points-per-game under consideration.”
Voiding the season, although apparently discussed at the meeting for the first time, remains off the table and is only a last resort with the intention still to play the remaining games of the Premier League season.
The three teams above them, Watford, West Ham and Brighton would not be relegated under a simple PPG formula, so it would seem to split the interests of the bottom six.
According to the Independent: “The Premier League would consider a variety of different models, but an issue is they have different outcomes. If it was purely points-per-game, for example, Bournemouth would go down. If it was weighted points-per-game – like some extrapolation of home and away fixtures – West Ham United would go down. The latter could also see Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal switch places.On a video press conference after Monday meeting, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters was keen to point out this remains a last resort.”
Whichever way you cut this cake then, it looks as though the only way Norwich will beat the drop is to play their way out of it and win games. However, the Premier League will now seemingly have to go back to the government and ask again about not playing at neutral venues.
Previously, this was the only option on the table due to a number of concerns including policing crowds of supporters that might turn up outside grounds anyway.
The Independent also report that discussions will take place later this week with players and club staff to discuss safety issues. That, to me, looks crucial because we don’t even know yet how many players are happy to actually play. You would’ve thought that this might be a rather large consideration, wouldn’t you?