Football agent defends the idea of playing games behind closed doors

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 12:05pm

By Josh O’Brien @JoshJohnOBrien1

Former Manchester City midfielder, now agent, Barry Silkman passionately debated how the remaining Premier League games should be played within the time frame of their normal schedule

Though the idea of games without spectators is almost the exact opposite of what the game represents to most players and fans alike, football agent Barry Silkman thinks it could be the Premier League’s only solution to what is perhaps the biggest problem they’ve faced in their 28-year existence.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused all football in Europe’s top five leagues, as well as lower divisions all the way down to some grassroots football, to grind to a halt.

As a precaution to prevent the virus from spreading, some games were originally played behind closed doors before football was suspended all together in most countries and leagues. 

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The Premier League and EFL both announced that they aim to have the fixture schedule up and running again by the first weekend of April, though in the wake of Euro 2020 being put back a year, it seems increasingly unlikely we will see any action in as quickly as three weeks time.

The unplanned hiatus has led to a wider discussion as to what to do with the remainder of the unplayed season. With Liverpool on the brink of securing their first League title in thirty years, many have deemed it cruel to rob them of such glory by scrapping the campaign entirely.

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However, former Manchester City midfielder, now turned football agent, Barry Silkman thinks the league officials could be left with little choice if they are so reluctant to play games without fans.

"The biggest problem now is what happens with the league. Because they can’t just go and give the title to Liverpool, what are they going to do about teams going down, teams going up?

“I’ve gone through all the scenarios and there is massive problems with all of them. Major problems. There’s only one scenario that there isn’t problems with - play them game behind closed doors, with no people there. That is the only scenario that works.

“There’s no advantage or disadvantage for anyone because everyone is in the same boat. People say ‘well if you play at home you’re losing the advantage’. Well every team has got to play at home, so every team is losing an advantage, so you’re all on a level footing.

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“There is no reason why not [games being played behind closed doors]. No reason why not. Honestly there is no reason, nobody is at a disadvantage, nobody is at an advantage. It’s the only scenario that actually works.”

Some discussion has taken place among fans over the possibility of allowing the top two teams in the Championship- West Brom and Leeds- to be promoted whilst no-one in the Premier League goes down. Silkman weighed up the pros and cons of such a situation.

“Let’s say the top two teams in the Championship now are West Brom and Leeds. I’ve gone through of this thing of right, West Brom and Leeds go up, nobody comes down. Then next season you have no league cup so you’ve got an extra two teams, extra games and you have the scenario of five teams going down next season and two going up so it levels itself off.

“The problem you’ve got then is that clubs are going to have to lose twenty million pounds of their money from television to accommodate the other two teams coming up, some clubs are running on a very tight budget and can’t afford to lose that twenty million.

“The next problem you’ve got is that teams just below Leeds and West Brom are going to say ‘we’ll hold on a minute, we think we would have gone up, we are going to take you to court because we think you’re being unfair’ so there is all these scenarios where there are major problems.”

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