Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his fear that the English Premier League might be “handicapped” when it would be played behind doors at empty stadiums after resuming the 2019-20 season following a suspension of more than three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What makes it special in England is the way people react to the game. It is the best country in the world for the way the fans respond to what’s happening on the pitch. That’s why I think it will be the most handicapped championship without that,” Wenger was quoted as saying to The Athletic.
“You realise that football without fans is not real. You have two elements in football games: the players and the fans who go to the stadiums, and people who watch it on television.
“So you have divided the first section if the spectators have to stay at home. Only one part of the spectacle is the players. You realise how much you miss the other part.
“In Germany, for example, you can see that in home games against bigger opponents, there is an element missing — that tension, that belief, that motivation that is coming from outside the pitch,” he added.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom government in the last week of May gave the Premier League the approval to resume the 2019-20 season on June 17 but asserted that all the health guidelines and social distancing measures be strongly adhered to.
The government, in fact, gave a green light to all forms of sports to restart from June 1 as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) published the ‘Stage Three’ guidance.
The revised list of fixtures were released earlier this week that will see Aston Villa and Sheffield United taking on each other in the first Premier League match after the COVID-19 lockdown on June 17. Later in the day, Manchester City and Arsenal will also face each other.