PFA: There May Be No Alternative to Behind-Closed-Doors Games
Monday, 23rd Mar 2020 19:59
PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes believes games will have to be played behind closed doors in order to get the season completed within a reasonable timeframe.
The Premier League and EFL are currently suspended until 30th April at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic but with the authorities having stated their determination to get the campaign completed. UEFA have said they want domestic seasons across Europe over by June 30th.
Town have eight games left to play, while a number of teams above them have 10 remaining and others nine.
"In an ideal world we'd be playing in front of crowds but I think it's more a case of there being no alternative," former West Ham winger Barnes told The Athletic.
"Players are realistic. We're not in an ideal world and the players I've spoken to accept that's what it will have to be.
"I've been speaking to players on a daily basis and the conversations were based around not wanting to play behind closed doors if at all possible.
"Football is about fans. But the reality for the vast majority of the players, particularly at the highest level, is their income is funded by television money and there are contracts that have to be adhered to.
"In order for us [the PFA] to be able to protect those players in terms of securing their salaries, if that's the only offer we have on the table to complete the season, then that is what it will be.”
He added: ”If we're going to get the season finished in a timely fashion so we can even consider starting next season, we've got to be open to all options.”
Prior to the fixtures being suspended 10 days ago, Town manager Paul Lambert said he is firmly against behind-closed-doors matches.
“I don’t agree with it, that’s my opinion,” he said. “I’ve played behind closed doors, I was part of the Scotland team that went to Monaco to play Estonia. They never turned up, and there was no team, there were no fans – it wasn’t great.
“And if you look at the Paris and Dortmund game, normally that would be one of the standout ties of the Champions League, nobody there and all you could hear was guys' voices or the ball being kicked, same with the Juve game.
“That’s not football because the game is about the supporters and if there are none there I wouldn’t like to play it.”
Striker Freddie Sears is also similarly against games behind closed doors, feeling the only positive would be getting the season completed.
Winger Gwion Edwards said playing behind closed doors would be “a weird experience”.
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