Aston Villa chief backs Brighton and West Ham by strongly opposing neutral grounds

Aston Villa have joined Brighton and West Ham in publicly opposing the idea of completing the Premier League season at neutral venues

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow
Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow

Chief executive Christian Purslow warned clubs would not support measures that increased the risk of the "£200million catastrophe" that is relegation.

It is understood Premier League clubs have been told the only way to complete the season is for the remaining 92 matches to be played at neutral venues, but Purslow said that would punish clubs like Villa.

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"Personally I'm against it," Purslow said on talkSPORT. "We're a club that prides itself on home form. Two-thirds of our wins this season have come at home.

"We've got six home games left to play and I think any Villa fan would agree that giving up that advantage is a massive decision for somebody running Aston Villa and I certainly wouldn't agree to that unless those circumstances are right."

Villa, having played a game less than those around them, sit in the relegation zone as things stand, two points behind West Ham who are outside the bottom three on goal difference, with Brighton a further two points better off in 15th place.

Purslow said discussions around Project Restart are hugely complicated as there is no clear answer on how to do it.

And he said that while the day-to-day financial losses due to the shutdown were greater at the top end of the table, for those near the bottom the implications were far greater.

"There's a much smaller revenue base, but the risk of relegation is probably a £200million catastrophe for any club that mathematically could still go down," he said.

"When you say to any club, 'We want you to agree to a bunch of rule changes that may make it more likely that you get relegated', they're not thinking about TV money, they're thinking, 'My goodness, am I going to agree to something that results in me being relegated and losing £200million?'"

Purslow's warning about relegation came a day after EFL chairman Rick Parry said things would get "very messy" if the Premier League tried to block promotion from the Championship this season.

"The EFL has grave financial problems and those problems predate Covid-19," Purslow said. "I think what Covid has done is expose the fact the league is unsustainable at every level.

"One of the reasons I feel very strongly that we need to complete the season and protect TV revenue is that the Premier League really is the driver of revenue that filters throughout English football."

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