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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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dirtydingusmagee added 21:04 - Mar 23
Its a way of completing the season ,but it still exposes players ,officials,and staff to the virus.

runningout added 22:55 - Mar 23
Football is full of greed (not on it’s own) They don’t really care too much for the mugs, I mean fans

FromIpswichToPhoenix added 05:12 - Mar 24
Yeah, God forbid the players shouldn't get paid. It would be terrible for them to not receive their bloated salaries while the rest of the working class faces mass layoffs.

BlueJohn added 07:58 - Mar 24
Surely playing behind closed doors will still require at least one ambulance to be present at every match in case of serious player injury. That can't be justified in the current crisis. Plus some teams will still have players in isolation.

alfromcol added 09:28 - Mar 24
Footballers are not essential workers, far from it, so they won't be able to travel to the ground to play the games anyway.

FromIpswichtoPhoenix spot on

JewellintheTown added 11:06 - Mar 24
Time for Rock, Paper, Scissors then.
Winners sorted.

alfromcol added 11:29 - Mar 24
PFA: There May Be No Alternative to Behind-Closed-Doors Games

Yes there is: Draw a line under this season and start preparing for next.

TrumptonBlue added 11:41 - Mar 24
Those games with players staying 2m away from each other should be well worth watching.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 11:56 - Mar 24
Advantages of playing behind closed doors as opposed to just finishing the season (always assuming the virus situation has improved sufficiently to allow this to happen): 1) Naarwich don't manage to wheedle their way out of relegation somehow, 2) Fans could at least watch via iFollow, 3) We might actually then be in a position to re-set to zero and resume normality in August (emphasis on "might").
No-one is saying that behind-closed-doors matches are fun, but hard times demand hard decisions. Agree about the players' salaries not being a major issue, though. They will still get paid, I presume; and even if they didn't, what they missed for a few weeks or a couple of months would set most of us up for life.

slade1 added 18:38 - Mar 24
Are we still talking about how to finish the season? Its a game of football that's all.
Far more important things to think about right now.

Dissboyitfc added 19:19 - Mar 24
Slade1 yes more important things to think about, but it’s important enough for people to come on here looking for stories as to what is happening in the football world and leaving a comment!

I agree the season should be finished and if it means behind closed doors when it is safe to do so then so be it.

Liverpool need to be crowned champions and Norwich need to be relegated!

chopra777 added 08:41 - Mar 25
Why not use prerecorded crowd noise and and use a load of manequins to simulate the crowd.

aloanagain added 14:00 - Mar 26
Why is it that football seems to be the only thing that needs to be completed? All what's going on in the world and all you hear is we have to finish the season. For goodness sake finish it all now and start again next season, even if we are able to do that.

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