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Premier League: Brighton ‘not in favour’ of finishing season at neutral venues


Five of Brighton’s remaining nine Premier League fixtures are due to be played at the Amex Stadium

Brighton say they are against playing the remaining Premier League games at neutral venues because it may affect the “integrity of the competition”.

Top-flight clubs have been told that using up to 10 neutral venues will be the only way to complete the season.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said his club were “not in favour” of the proposal.

West Ham, who are also just above the relegation zone, want to play their remaining home games at London Stadium.

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parrish says football needs to “at least contemplate whether it’s possible” to resume using measures such as neutral grounds.

The Premier League has been suspended since 13 March because of the coronavirus pandemic but all clubs are committed to playing the 92 remaining fixtures of the 2019-20 season if and when safe to do so.

A major factor in the decision to require neutral venues is reducing the chance of fans congregating, and the selection of grounds will be largely based on a rating from the police and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority.

Not all of the proposed eight to 10 neutral venues will necessarily be Premier League grounds, although the vast majority will be.

Barber said clubs “must all be prepared to accept some compromises” and that Brighton “fully appreciate why playing behind closed doors is very likely to be a necessary compromise to play our remaining games”.

However, he added: “At this critical point in the season, playing matches in neutral venues has, in our view, potential to have a material effect on the integrity of the competition.”

West Ham, who are 16th in the table and only clear of the relegation zone on goal difference, want to play their remaining five home games at London Stadium but feel this does not set them apart from other clubs with major goals still to play for.

Writing in the Sunday Times,