GMP issue statement on the possibility of United playing at neutral venues

Greater Manchester Police are working with both Manchester clubs with a view to ensure that both clubs remaining Premier League fixtures can be played at their respective home grounds.

However, the GMP have confirmed that a decision either way has yet to be made.

According to Manchester Evening News, Deputy Chief Constable, Mark Roberts, has highlighted United’s home game against Sheffield United and City’s home games against Newcastle United and Liverpool as potential candidates to be played at neutral venues.

Assistant Chief Constable, Nick Bailey has issued a lengthy statement on the potential decision: “Due to GMP having two Premier League clubs within our force area, we were asked to assess the risks posed in the remaining home fixtures for both Manchester City and Manchester United in the environment of COVID-19, before offering our findings to the wider national discussion with the NPCC, the Government and the Premier League.

“Whilst all games are routinely risk-assessed in advance – with the health and safety of all those involved being the main priority – our considerations in the current climate present a different dimension and we have to ensure that government regulations and guidelines will be adhered to.

“We identified three games in our force area that present factors which need further consideration, and GMP is working with both clubs and the relevant Safety Advisory Groups (SAG) to assess if we can safely facilitate the playing of these matches at their intended locations.

“A decision will be made by the SAGs in due course and we will support whichever outcome is decided.”

United are reportedly pleased that the possibility of moving games to neutral venues is being reviewed as playing at Old Trafford would be their preferred choice.

United remain firm in their stance that public safety is paramount and will support any decision if matches are deemed to be unsafe to play at home venues.

In a recent statement, DCC Roberts said: “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.

“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.

“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.”

READ MORE: Birmingham City manager issues warning over United’s interest in Jude Bellingham

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