Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand suggests that there is no realistic alternative to the resumption of the 2019-20 season that will please all 20 Premier League clubs.
Ferdinand told the PA news agency: “The Premier League are in a position where they’re not going to please everybody. There are going to be people whose noses are put out of joint.
“Teams in the relegation zone (will be) saying ‘we were relying on our home form with the backing of our fans to make sure that we remain in this league’, which you can understand.
“But we’re in uncharted territory and we’ve never been here before so to expect that the Premier League and the FA are going to have an absolute resolution for this that’s going to suit all parties would be very, very naive.
“People are going to feel at a disadvantage if certain decisions are made but I don’t think the Premier League can have a wholehearted 100 per cent win on this no matter what decision they make, which is unfortunate.”
Top-flight clubs are believed to have been advised that the use of eight to 10 neutral grounds is the only way to complete the initiative in a manner that suits the government and emergency services in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Paul Barber, Chief Executive of Brighton, is among those resistant to the proposal, as the Seagulls are hovering two points above the drop zone with nine remaining fixtures – five of which will have been at home.
Although Ferdinand sympathizes with players’ concerns, he insists that players must place their confidence in medical personnel in clubs, as well as in the Premier League, the Football Association and the Government, to behave in their best interests.
Speaking at the launch of Amplify Pro, Ferdinand added: “In any situation and any walk of life the not knowing and uncertainty always leads to an element of fear and this is no different from anything else.
“It’s understandable but I think the players will need to be putting their trust in the medical staffs at their clubs.
“The Premier League, the FA and the Government, if all of those three bodies give it the green light then I’m sure the players’ protection, health and well-being will be at the top of their agenda to make sure they remain healthy and not at risk.
“That’s where the players’ trust has to lie and they’ve got to believe that these powers that be are doing it for the right reasons and that’s that health is at the forefront of everything.”
Player safety is indeed a problem that could dominate the agenda if the Premier League were to move forward with its preparations to finish the season.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and Brighton counterpart Glenn Murray raised objections from a health point of view.