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2020-04-30

Man Utd executive vice president Woodward warns of 'serious doubt' about the return of Premier League

Image:-executive vice-chairman of Manchester United F.C

The board member of the Red Devils spoke about the possible resumption of England's top flight in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak Manchester United Executive Vice President Ed Woodward says there is still "great uncertainty" about the return of football and the club is not happy to play games behind closed doors.

This week Arsenal players returned to their training ground to begin socially-distant work ahead of a potential return to action early in June. The Premier League is committed to finishing the season but there is still uncertainty about how and when it will be possible to do that.

United players continue to train at home and no plans are in place for them to return to Carrington at the moment-but the situation remains under constant review.

Should top-flight action resume in England, the games would be played behind closed doors and Woodward says the club is not necessarily happy with that decision and the public's health remains number one priority.

"I think we all agree that we want supporters back to watching Old Trafford football as soon as possible. That can only happen when we're advised it's safe to do so, and clearly the government has a big say in that," Woodward said at a meeting at the Fans' Forum.

"No decisions have yet been made, but we think it's possible that the initial games, especially those related to finishing or trying to finish this season, will probably have to be played behind closed doors - but that's not yet confirmed. 'We're not necessarily happy about that, obviously, football requires our fans in the stadium to complete it, but public health must come first.

"We have to have clarity about what the future holds. What's going to happen with the rest of this season? What's the impact on next season? Is it behind closed doors or in front of fans? What's the impact on broadcast deals, sponsorship deals?

Numerous options were mentioned earlier in the lockdown including the possibility of playing the remaining Premier League games abroad, something Woodward does not think will happen.

He said: "There is still enormous uncertainty from a UK perspective. There was an interesting question about competitive overseas games, I haven't heard anything about it and I'd expect our remaining domestic games to be played in England."