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Getting the complete picture

Albion boss expects more detail on Project Restart at Monday's Premier League meeting.

By Bruce Talbot • 08 May 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Signs thanking NHS workers at the entrance to the Amex Covid-19 testing centre

Albion chief executive Paul Barber is expecting to see ‘a more complete picture’ of what a resumption of Premier League action might look like when clubs meet on Monday.

The League are hoping to re-start the season in mid-June but there are plenty of hurdles to overcome, not least the question of where games would be staged with Albion already making it clear that they are opposed to finishing the season behind closed doors.

He said, “The Premier League are trying to put in place lots of pieces of a very big jigsaw and it’s important over next few days and certainly at Monday’s meeting we start to see a more complete picture of everything we’re being asked to agree to.

“We’re 75 per cent of the way through [the season] and in order for the competition to finish fairly we want it to be as close to the original basis as possible.

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Barber & Ashworth press conference

“There are going to be situations, almost inevitably, over the weeks that follow – assuming we can start safely – where players get ill. So we need to understand what the League’s plan is for what happens in that eventuality because, as we’ve said a thousand times in the last eight weeks, player and staff safety must be absolute priority.”

On the question of playing at neutral venues, Barber believes it is not just clubs outside the bottom six who have reservations about this aspect of Project Restart.

“I think there are clubs at different levels of the league that have concerns about the fairness element," he added.

“Teams have a large number of home games left or a small number of home games left. They have big teams to play and smaller teams to play. We have four of the six biggest teams – not just in the league but in Europe - and at our ground traditionally we’ve done okay against those teams.

“There is a clear advantage of being at your home venue even if it’s with without a crowd.

"We’ve built our training ground to replicate conditions as best we can, and it is all designed to maximise whatever home advantage you can gain. Just to simply strip that away three-quarters of the way through the season to us seems unfair.”

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