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PROJECT RESTART: Watford FC chairman concerned about “distorted nine-game mini-league” scenario

 Published on: 10th May 2020   |   By: Geraint Roberts   |   Category: Watford FC

Watford FC Chairman and CEO has given his view on the Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ discussions and highlights many factors which could be detrimental for football clubs.

Whilst Scott Duxbury agrees accepts that football should continue when its able to do so, he also believes it should be conducted in the fairest possible manner.

The Hornets last played on March 7 at Selhurst Park in a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace.

That followed the incredible 3-0 victory at Vicarage Road to champions-elect Liverpool at the end of February, a result that stunned the world of football.

Those two results highlight the difference in what home advantage can do for a football club, and Mr Duxbury thinks that will have a negative effect on Watford.

In an article published by The Times, Scott Duxbury said: “We are now told we cannot play our remaining games at Vicarage Road and the familiarity and advantage that brings. This, against a backdrop of players who, having seen their lives turned upside down along the rest of the world, are suddenly expected to perform as if nothing happened.

“The rest of society will probably still be facing the kind of restrictions unenforceable on a football pitch.”

After it was reported that at least six Premier League clubs had concerns over ‘Project Restart’, with Watford being included in one of them, many came out and said it was due to their position in the Premier League table.

Mr Duxbury accepts that his position if founded on ‘self-interest’: “Critics will say my position is founded on self-interest, and they would be absolutely right. I have a duty to protect my club and the people employed by it, some of whom have worked for Watford Football Club for more than 20 years and dedicated their lives to it.

“Some clubs are happy to sign up to Project Restart because arguably there is only an upside in participating in this compromised format.

“It means Liverpool can with the title, other clubs can book their place in Europe next season or potentially fight their way up the table from a position of safety.”

Scott Duxbury also thinks a nine-game mini-league has a “clear downside” and could have “devastating effects”.

He continued: “I believe the Premier League has a duty of care to address those concerns. If we start and finish a whole season under these conditions and at neutral venues when everybody knows the rules when we start, not created in a time of crisis, then that is clearly fair.

“To be asked to finish a quarter of the season under new rules and conditions is an entirely different position.

“I hope we can now come together and find a solution to enable the season to end safely and fairly.”

Picture courtesy of Watford FC

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