18:18 GMT26 September 2020
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    With clubs in the English Premier League agreeing to kick off the 2019-20 season again on 17 June, after a hiatus since March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a prominent manager in Germany, where top-flight football has also resumed, has stated that playing matches behind closed doors deprives teams of home advantage.

    Speaking to British radio station TalkSport, Fortuna Dusseldorf Head Coach Uwe Rosler gave his views on how the lack of fans in stadiums affects team morale.

    "A lot of those teams thrive on emotions, spirit, support of the crowd and that is missing. The emotional levels are not 100 per cent so you find it hard to find win games. You know how hard it is to win games in the Premier League and it’s the same here,” the German stated.

    Rosler added that he thought that home advantage has now all but been eradicated.

    "It’s very, very difficult to win games and at the moment, I can see a pattern that the away teams play with more freedom and obviously they’re picking up more points than the home teams," the coach said.

    Despite agreeing to resume the season, the Premier League clubs are still deliberating on whether to play certain fixtures at neutral venues, for health and safety purposes.

    Potential matches that could be played elsewhere, include the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, as fears have arisen that fans could congregate outside stadiums, and hence violate Westminster’s social distancing policies.

    The UK’s Deputy Chief Constable of Football policing, Mark Roberts issued a statement today explaining the potential use of said neutral grounds to host high risk remaining fixtures.

    "We have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing 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," Roberts said.

    The constable outlined, that the Premier League had been accommodating and flexible in their approach to how the season could resume.

    "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,” Roberts stated.

    Roberts concluded by encouraging football fans to behave responsibly, and not to congregate outside stadiums when matches get back underway.

    "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."

    Aston Villa will take on Sheffield United, and Arsenal face off against Manchester City on 17 June, meaning that come the following weekend, each team in the Premier League will have played 29 games in total, out of the 38 required to complete a season.

    The future of knockout competitions such as the FA Cup and Champions League remains in question, and football administrators will have to make a bold decision in the coming weeks over whether or not to scrap them in favour of completing domestic fixtures.

    Tags:
    COVID-19, football, English Premier League
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