Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger ‘convinced’ about Premier League fear over empty stadiums

Arsene Wenger fears playing behind closed doors could “damage” the Premier League – and football overhaul – if it has to continue for an entire season.

Commenting to BeIN Sports on the resumption of the Bundesliga season, the former Arsenal manager said: “It can be a short term solution, but you cannot imagine a whole season played without any spectators.

“Does it on the longer-term survive? Will it damage the show on the longer-term without supporters? I am convinced of that.

“We have suppressed the spectators and only the players are there, so it looks a bit empty but I must say the commitment of the players I great.

“I am a football person, so I enjoy watching the game technically.”

Wenger, who currently works as the head of global football development for FIFA, nevertheless feels that playing remaining games out in empty stadiums for the rest of this campaign is better than the alternatives.

“It’s still the best possible way to have a verdict at the end of the season, it’s better than any other method.” he said.

Wenger also commented on the idea to temporarily bring in a rule to allow clubs to make five substitutes in a match to combat fatigue.

Clubs are expected to face packed fixture schedules between now and the end of the season with the turnaround between matches expected to be far shorter than normal.

The Frenchman added: “At FIFA we proposed the five substitutes because the fixtures are very congested. I believe on the first game it’s very difficult to judge.

“I believe it is a good idea because some smaller teams could not play with the same players every three days so it allows them to use their best players.”

Worryingly for the Premier League, the Daily Mirror say the entire 2020-21 campaign may have to be played in empty stadiums.

Government officials have warned that crowds may not be able to return to grounds until a vaccine is discovered and circulated.

That is the worst-case scenario and could have a significant impact on many clubs, given they would suffer huge drops in commercial and matchday revenue.

Ticket sales, sponsorship and retail money would all drop while the value of TV broadcasting deals could also decline given the lesser spectacle without fans.

The Mirror add that there is hope a vaccine may be available as early as February but that contingency plans are being made for another 12 months of behind-closed-doors games.

That could be particularly disastrous for English Football League clubs, who are far more dependent than the Premier League outfits on match-day income.

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