The Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ plans are facing further complications with broadcasters keen on the ‘jeopardy of a relegation battle’ should the season return.
There have been plenty of talks about if and how the Premier League can return to action following it’s six-week hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, with clubs announcing last week their continued ‘commitment to finishing the 2019/20 season’.
The league’s current proposals are believed to include the prospect of playing remaining fixtures at neutral venues behind-closed-doors, however, the plans have been met with opposition from several of the division’s struggling sides who are concerned over the lack of home advantage during the run-in.
Several clubs – including the likes of Brighton, West Ham and Watford – are believed to want relegation to be scrapped should the season be concluded at neutral venues, a view which has not been welcomed by the league’s broadcasters.
According to the Telegraph, Sky and BT Sport would likely oppose any plans for relegation to be scrapped, with ‘senior industry sources’ believing it will be hard to sell ‘Project Restart’ to the public if the remaining fixtures do not contain the ‘jeopardy of a relegation battle’.
If the remaining fixtures are unable to be fulfilled, clubs could be forced to hand back £762m to broadcasters, though there is believed to be an intention from domestic rights-holders to give some form of financial certainty to clubs.
However, the absence of football has seen both companies lose huge numbers of subscribers amid the global pandemic and there are fears a lack of relegation drama will see both struggle to convince supporters to re-register upon the Premier League’s return.
With relegation off the table, and Liverpool requiring just six points to get their hands on the title, a resumption in action would serve little purpose other than sorting out European qualification.