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Villa chief urges fans to stay away from Premier League restart


London (AFP) – Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has urged fans not to congregate at Villa Park ahead of the Premier League’s restart on Wednesday.

Villa host Sheffield United in the first fixture in England since the coronavirus outbreak, which halted top-flight football for three months.

The remaining games of the 2019/20 season will be broadcast on television to deter fans from going to stadiums, with all matches to be played behind closed doors.

The use of neutral venues was discussed during “Project Restart” talks and Purslow warned this could still be a possibility if fans turned up at stadiums.

In a video posted on Villa’s official Twitter account, Purslow said he would be working hard to get supporters back into stadiums when it was safe to do so.

“We were amongst a number of clubs who made clear that we didn’t approve of that (neutral grounds) policy because although none of you will be here, it is recognisably our home and I know the players feel really strongly about having six games here in our home,” he said.

“But one way to assure we complete this season, in those six games at Villa Park, is for none of our fans to show up.”

Purslow said he was grateful that authorities gave the go-ahead for matches to take place at clubs’ home grounds.

But he warned: “If we have fans congregating, they will reverse those policies immediately.”

Villa are second from bottom of the Premier League, with 10 games remaining.

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