THE Premier League is being offered an incredible Plan B escape route — to end the season in sunny Australian city Perth.
Worried chiefs are trying to find ways of playing the final 92 games in England — with a neutral venue masterplan in place — but are constantly running into hurdles.
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TV pundit Gary Neville claimed the top flight should finish behind closed doors overseas.
And now English agent Gary Williams is masterminding the astonishing alternative.
Williams, who lives in the Western Australian capital, has received backing from the local Perth senator.
He is also in contact with the Australian government and Ministry for Sport to get their backing for the eye-catching idea.
It has already been put to the Prem, while several clubs have also been alerted and are happy to oblige.
One club official said: “We go on world tours in pre-season. This is no different. And the climate in Australia is ideal just now.”
Gary Williams’ eight-point proposal to the Prem
- Fly all 20 squads to Perth. Airlines would be delighted with the custom and are available.
- Base them in their own hotels, with facilities, and isolate for up to a fortnight if they have to. Perth is currently in tourist ‘off season’ anyway.
- Play games at several top venues in the city, behind closed doors or even with a limited number of local fans.
- Slash the number of medical tests needed, possibly only two in total rather than the proposed twice a week.
- Remove the need for police to control closed venues in England when the games are played.
- End concerns about travel arrangements and hotel stays. The clubs would use the same bases, close to grounds, for the duration.
- Allow families to travel over towards the end of the campaign to give them a much-needed break in a safe environment.
- Easy for TV coverage, with various kick-off times to suit English schedules.
Perth has four major sporting venues that can be used — Optus Stadium (capacity 65,000), Perth Oval (20,500), cricket’s WACA (24,500) and Joondalup Arena (16,000).
Brummie Williams said: “I have had discussions with contacts at Premier League clubs and they like the idea.
“I have also spoken with government officials and they are enthusiastic. We are speaking again this week.
“Everybody is safe here. The government has lifted many restrictions.
“We are sitting round in groups of ten, we can walk around and the beaches are open. We have had four new cases in the last ten days.”
Australia has reported 93 Covid-19 deaths, compared to over 28,000 in the UK.
Perth is proud of the claim to be the ‘most isolated city in the world’ and would be a money spinner for the local economy.
Perth state senator Glenn Sterle added: “I’m watching what’s happening in England with a heavy heart. We want to help.”
This is the centre of the sporting universe in Australia. We have fresh air and good weather. It would be ideal
Perth state senator Glenn Sterle
The fear of a Prem invasion sparking health worries was dismissed by Sterle, who said: “We have almost no new cases. It would just be a case of some quarantine for our friends when they arrive and then we are up and running.
“When Gary first mentioned it I thought it was a wonderful idea.
“I’m glad he is getting the same response from the people in the game he has called.
“This is the centre of the sporting universe in Australia. We have fresh air and good weather. It would be ideal.”
Government guidelines released by the Australian Institute of Sport on Friday said elite sports should recommence “in a spectator-free environment”, with rugby league due to restart on May 28.
If the Aussie government are happy with the health aspect, then the doors will be thrown wide open.
Other countries have been suggested as Prem hosts, including Qatar and Malta.
The Maltese idea has snags as it may be hard to control crowds and those supporters who try to travel to the games. It will also be very hot in summer.
Neville, 45, is in the camp supporting a move to Malta.
He has strong links with the country and insiders revealed he is lobbying for them.
The ex-Manchester United and England defender and his pals have a hotel on the island where he often holidays, including a trip when he proposed.
He also vowed to make it the first place he goes after lockdown.