Wednesday 13 May 2020 by Runi Talwar

Premier League clubs refusing to play in empty stadiums, insisting Manchester City would have unfair advantage


Etihad stadium empty

The Premier League’s controversial ‘Project Restart’ plan took a heavy blow today, after several clubs claimed that the plan to resume the league in front of empty stadiums would give Manchester City an unfair advantage, given how used to it they are.

According to inside sources, multiple Premier League clubs have made it clear to the administration that they will refuse to support any restart that involves playing with no fans present.

As per one anonymous source, clubs are concerned that the lack of atmosphere would negatively affect performance for all clubs except Manchester City, who have had the luxury of spending the last seven years playing at home in exactly these conditions.

“It would be completely unfair to the rest of the league,” said one club CEO, who refused to be named.

“Manchester City spend week in, week out, playing to a completely silent and practically empty stadium. They are completely used to not having fans attend games – so how can the League expect the rest of the teams to adjust to that reality so quickly?

“It would be like if the entire league was only allowed to eat Nissin Noodles for the whole season – that would obviously give my club a huge advantage.”

“Football’s just not the same without the fans,” said another high-ranking official of a different club.

“The roar of the crowd after a goal, the chanting that spurs your team on when you’re chasing a game, the pride you can feel from the crowd when they see their local team lift the trophy – only Manchester City knows what it’s like to play without these things.”

Despite misgivings from several parts of the football world, the Premier League is confident that it can forge ahead with its plans for Project Restart, saying that while it would be ‘strange’ to continue the season without fans present, it’s the only way to resolve the 19/20 season in the current health crisis.

“We know that clubs are upset at having to play behind closed doors,” said one Premier League official.

“We get it – no one wants Manchester City to have an advantage, least of all us. However, we must look at what’s really important here – and that’s how much money we stand to lose if we can’t get these games on TV soon.”

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