English Premiership

Neville: Football is not unified at the moment

Gary Neville (Gallo Images)
Gary Neville (Gallo Images)

Gary Neville says the Premier League is divided over whether or not to restart the 2019/20 season.

There remains uncertainty over the vaunted 'Project Restart', which hopes to bring the Premier League back by mid-June.

It was said last week that some 'rebel' clubs are opposing the plans in favour of potentially voiding the season, with the bottom six thought to have sought assurances over relegation before pledging to return.

The removal of relegation is not thought to be on the table in discussions, and indeed the Daily Mail say the current bottom three - Norwich, Aston Villa and Bournemouth - 'have been warned' that they could be sent down to the Championship 'if they continue to obstruct' football's proposed comeback.

There is said to be an 'implicit threat' that those three could be relegated by majority vote 'if there is not unanimous support' to continue the season at Monday's Premier League shareholders’ meeting.

And Neville believes it was inevitable that certain clubs would be "bullied" into bringing football back.

"There is no doubt we have got a divided Premier League in terms of what the clubs want," he told Sky Sports.

"The message from day one of this pandemic is a global approach, unity, be kind. Football is not a kind place at this moment in time, it is self interest and it is getting quite dirty behind the scenes, from what it sounds like.

"What about health? It is unsavoury. I don't believe it is a fair approach to avoid relegation. If we are playing football matches then there has to be something on it or there is no point turning up.

"Promotion and relegation is what drives our game and makes it as competitive as it is. I am not for removing it. Look at Germany and how they dealt with the pandemic, it is head and shoulders above this country so it's not a fair comparison.

"Clubs at the bottom were always going to get bullied into playing if there was a way to deliver it safely."

- TEAMtalk media

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