Gary Neville has warned that everyone must accept behind-closed-doors fixtures when football returns and believes fans could be banned from games for at least six months.
Football currently remains suspended amid the coronavirus crisis but talks continue regarding a safe return to the sport, with any return almost certain to include fixtures played with empty stadiums.
Neville admits a lack of atmosphere will make a return for the Premier League and other domestic competitions ‘strange’, but has told players to ‘get their heads around’ the idea with the prospect of behind-closed-doors fixtures running for several months.
“It’s going to be strange. It’s an awful experience when you’re used to playing in front of big crowds. The Premier League lives off its stadium experience,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“It’s why the adrenaline gets pumping for the players, it’s why the fans love coming.
“But we are going to be playing behind closed doors for months and months and months, probably into next year. We have to get our heads around that.
“That’s something we can’t get away from the behind-closed-doors element.
”There is no way fans are going to be in stadiums in the next 3, 4, 5, 6 months in my opinion.
“We’re even being fed that in as clubs to expect that. At this stage I don’t think the players have got any choice other than to get their heads round it.”
Neville added that playing Premier League fixtures without fans will feel ‘very strange’ for all those involved, but believes the situation would be accepted given the unprecedented time being faced amid the Covid-19 crisis.
“It will feel very strange from a broadcasting point of view, a playing point of view, even the fans at home watching it,” he added.
“We’ve all watched games when they’ve been behind closed doors and they’re not particularly great but I think at this moment of time it would be accepted because of the situation we’re in.”