GMP issue statement on plans for Manchester United and Man City to play at neutral grounds
Premier League fixtures involving Man United and Manchester City could take place behind closed doors according to a list of games released on Friday and Greater Manchester Police have issued an updateby Tyrone Marshall, http://www.facebook.com/TyMarshallMEN/
Greater Manchester Police are working with Manchester United and Manchester City to try and ensure both clubs remaining home Premier League fixtures can be played at Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium.
But the force says a decision on moving three games highlighted as possessing a potential risk away from Greater Manchester is yet to be taken.
United's Old Trafford game with Sheffield United and City's Etihad fixtures against Liverpool and Newcastle United were earmarked as likely to be played at neutral venues by Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts of South Yorkshire Police, the UK's football policing lead.
GMP identified those three games as being of most concern from the remaining Premier League fixtures due to be played at Old Trafford or the Etihad.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said: “Due to GMP having two Premier League clubs within our force area, we were asked to assess the risks posed in the remaining home fixtures for both Manchester City and Manchester United in the environment of Covid-19, before offering our findings to the wider national discussion with the NPCC, the Government and the Premier League.
“Whilst all games are routinely risk-assessed in advance – with the health and safety of all those involved being the main priority – our considerations in the current climate present a different dimension and we have to ensure that government regulations and guidelines will be adhered to.
“We identified three games in our force area that present factors which need further consideration, and GMP is working with both clubs and the relevant Safety Advisory Groups (SAG) to assess if we can safely facilitate the playing of these matches at their intended locations.
“A decision will be made by the SAGs in due course and we will support whichever outcome is decided.”
In total six games, all to be played in the north, were on the list. But while United have held discussions with GMP the M.E.N. understands the club were surprised to see the fixture against the Blades listed as a game likely to be played away from Old Trafford and have yet to be informed that is the case.
In a statement released on Friday morning, DCC Roberts said: “The majority of remaining matches will be played at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed.
“The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.
“This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums.”