Liverpool could be denied winning first Premier League title at Anfield with clubs in talks to play at neutral grounds – The Sun

LIVERPOOL could be denied the opportunity to lift their first the Premier League title at Anfield with clubs in talks to resume the season at neutral grounds.

Top-flight clubs will hold further talks on how the season can be restarted amid the coronavirus pandemic at their next shareholders' meeting on Friday.

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Part of the "Project Restart" discussions will centre around the use of approved venues, which may mean teams playing on neutral grounds.

The UK's national football policing lead Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts told Press Association that playing all the remaining matches at their original venues would "present challenges" to the emergency services already stretched by the Covid-19 outbreak.

There would be particular pressure points from a health and public order perspective on a match where the league title or another season-defining issue was on the line, because of the potential for mass gatherings of supporters.

DCC Mark Roberts said: "In the first instance, football has to satisfy the Government that they can hold the matches and that it's safe for everyone to do it in terms of players, officials, coaching staff, broadcasters.

"So you get that first stage of 'how do you make it safe to play football at the location?' And it may be that actually that mandates them being played at specific neutral venues where it can be controlled."

The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, told the BBC he would be concerned about large numbers of supporters congregating at Anfield – breaching the rules around social distancing and mass gatherings – during a match day.

Premier League medical adviser Mark Gillett and Football Association head of medicine Charlotte Cowie will be involved in a separate meeting involving medical officials from a range of sports, along with representatives from Public Health England.

The meeting, which will be led by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is understood to be taking place on Friday, in a sign of the Government's apparent commitment to restarting professional sport where it is safe to do so.

The Premier League are still hoping to use VAR for the final games of the season and that social distancing guidelines will be followed in setting up the officials, either at the Stockley Park headquarters or on-site at stadiums.

Discussions will also continue on the various player status issues created by the indefinite extension to the season.

Huge uncertainty surrounds players whose contracts expire on June 30 and loan returns, while decisions must also be made on whether Hakim Ziyech, who officially becomes a Chelsea player on July 1, would be eligible to feature in the 2019-20 season or would have to wait.

Ziyech – who completed the transfer in February – joins Chelsea from Ajax in Holland, where the season has already been ended by a government order.

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