Villa’s survival hopes suffer blow as doubts grow over return to Villa Park

Aston Villa's survival hopes have taken a hit after the West Midlands mayor and police chief admitted resuming the season at Villa Park may not be possible.

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow recently spoke out against proposals for neutral grounds.

The Premier League's Project Restart has since confirmed they hope to complete the season with clubs playing at their own grounds behind closed doors with no fans because of the coronavirus.

But the West Midlands' mayor Andy Street and Chief Constable David Johnson are yet to be convinced.

It could be a big blow to both sixth-placed Wolves and especially Villa, who 19th-placed with six of their remaining 10 games are at home.

Villa boast 30,000 season ticket holders and regularly sell-out their 42,000-capacity.

Street said: “I would like to see both Villa and Wolves being able to play with their home advantage, even behind closed doors.

“But I have to say we seem to be a very long way away from being able to navigate that. There is an enormous amount to be done before we can even get to that starting point.

“I think what we are much more likely to see is a neutral ground solution first, then moving to a closed door situation, probably from the beginning of the new season.

“Even when we do begin to open the stadiums it will probably not be to full capacity, it would be a scaled up arrangement.

“A lot of people with technical expertise need to do a lot of planning yet I’m afraid.”

Earlier this week the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said resuming matches would put officers and fans at risk if crowds gathered.

And West Midlands Police Chief Constable David Johnson also warned: “It would not be acceptable for officers to be put at increased risk.

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