Arsenal supporters will be entitled to a refund or credit for any match tickets or hospitality they have already purchased for future behind-closed doors matches in the 2019/20 season.
A statement read: “As a result of recent Government statements and Premier League discussions it is now sadly inevitable that due to the COVID-19 pandemic our remaining home and away matches of the 2019/20 season will be played behind closed doors, with no fans present.
“These unprecedented times have changed so much in all of our lives and although the UK Government strategy means that we now intend to complete the 2019/20 season respecting new parameters, we are disappointed at the prospect of fans not being at matches in the near future. Like everyone, we look forward to the day when we are all able to safely return to matches.
“As previously stated, supporters will be entitled to a credit or refund for any match tickets or hospitality they have already purchased for future behind-closed doors matches in the 2019/20 season. Whether as part of a season ticket or for an individual match, supporters will be offered a credit for next season or a refund. This behind-closed doors credit will be in addition to the two unused cup credits already due to general admission season ticket holders.
“The process to credit/refund supporters who have purchased match tickets and or hospitality for these fixtures will begin immediately. Full details and timings will be communicated directly to fans.
“Information regarding season ticket and membership renewals for next season will be updated as soon as we have more clarity on future possible timings of the 2020/21 season.”
The English Premier League, which wants to avoid a potential £762m rebate on its broadcast income, is working on a plan that would see top-flight football resume in England, either from June 12 or June 19. Dani Ceballos let slip in an interview, he has been told it is the later date.
UEFA wants to know the Premier League’s detailed start plan by May 25. Public Health England would ultimately have to sign off the Premier League’s return.
Telegraph Sport has done an analysis on which venues will be used based on a grading system that will be used by the Police and Sports Ground Safety Authority. It suggests that the venues of West Ham United, Manchester City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton, Arsenal, Leicester City and Aston Villa are comparatively well suited. Wembley is also a strong option. A previous report said The Emirates Stadium wouldn’t be used due to large concourse outside.
Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth, Tottenham, Chelsea, and Norwich could all also meet key criteria but the home grounds of Liverpool, Everton, Watford, Burnley, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United appear unlikely to be used.
The local coronavirus infection rates will be considered, as will previous instances of disruption around the venues and the overall geographical spread.
There is also concern that the sourcing of PPE equipment privately for teams and matches will only increase competition and price within the health and care sector.
Clubs are considering various initiatives to minimise the loss of atmosphere, such as broadcasting fan noise or filling stadiums with cardboard cut-outs of fans.
Here are Arsenal’s remaining Premier League fixtures for 2019/20:
Manchester City vs Arsenal
Brighton and Hove Albion vs Arsenal
Southampton vs Arsenal
Arsenal vs Norwich City
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Arsenal
Arsenal vs Leicester City
Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal
Arsenal vs Liverpool
Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Arsenal vs Watford
There’s an article in the Sun on the time Arsenal put a mural up in the 1992/3 season. The new wooden construction had giant vinyl posters attached to it.
David Dein said: “The Friday before the game the team were training at the stadium at Highbury. I happened to be walking around the perimeter and Kevin Campbell came up to me and said ‘Mr Dein, there’s none of my brothers in the mural’. I was horrified to find he was right.
“We hadn’t noticed, stupidly, that there were no black faces. I was so embarrassed. Literally overnight we had to get an artist to rectify the situation.”
Despite the work, there were still complaints as the season progressed about black fans being underrepresented, along with women, the disabled and other groups.
As the lockdown carries on – the ‘news’ has more a hint of desperation – with increasing degrees of separation from reality.
The Express says if Arsenal buy Ajax left back Nicolas Tagliafico, then that will persuade Bukayo Saka to stay.
“The north Londoners appear willing to meet Ajax’s asking price of £20million for the 27-year-old as they believe a proven new left-back would liberate Saka and make him flourish.” This when there is no clue about how much money will be available.
The Daily Star speculates about Adrien Rabiot being sold to Arsenal by Juventus to fund Paul Pogba’s transfer. It suggests a link up with Mattieu Guendouzi (?). A more interesting line is would Aaron Ramsey go back to Arsenal with Juventus rumoured to want to sell? Unai Emery said that the departure of Ramsey was critical in last season’s demise.
Scraping the barrel is ES – with Jeremie Aliadiere who believes his former club should not have spent £72million on Nicolas Pepe, but insists Mikel Arteta is the “perfect match” to get the most out of the winger.
The Mail reckons Mikel Arteta could be eyeing a move for Borussia Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji this summer. Negotiations are already said to have begun for the centre-back as Arteta looks to add ball-playing ability to his back four. The 24-year-old is a Swiss international and has featured 24 times in the Bundesliga this season. He is contracted to Dortmund until 2022 but an offer of £25 million could be enough to tempt the club into selling (?). German outlet FussballTransfers.com claim the two clubs have entered back into discussions about striking an agreement.
The Express says Arsenal are aiming to snatch young Saint-Etienne defender Wesley Fofana. The 19-year-old played 14 first-team games this season.
Todo Fichajes claims that Shkodran Mustafi is not a part of Arteta’s plans and that it is likely he could be moved on this summer with AC Milan possibly interested.
Speaking this week, Mustafi told the club’s official website about the significant impact that the Spanish coach has made on the squad.
“Each one of us has benefitted from this arrival. He has brought a very clear identity and a very clear idea of how he wants to play football, but at the same time he gives you space to make your own decisions because you are on the pitch and you know exactly what the coach wants from you.
“I think as well he has been listening into the changing room and listening to the players to find out why things were not working out before.
“I have benefitted from his arrival and his coaching. When you are 28 years old, you think you have heard everything and then a coach comes in and you still learn and hear things that you have never heard before.
“He has been incredible since his arrival. He has shown his aura and his personality just shows that he is so convinced of the way he thinks football should be and how he wants his team to play, and it you just agree with it and soak in all the information.”
Another player on his way, according the Daily Star is Ainsley Maitland Niles. With four right backs, Maitland Niles is the most vulnerable, being dropped from the most recent squads, and censured for turning up late to training on more than one occasion, it argues.
According to Arsenal correspondent Art du Roche, of Football.London, Emile Smith Rowe could be handed his chance at the Emirates Stadium from next season, whenever that may begin.
Du Roche said: “As for a more general view, Emile Smith Rowe and Tyreece John-Jules (on loan at Lincoln City) were the other real success stories of the loan players.
“John-Jules managed just one goal in seven games before injury but was able to test himself in men’s football for the first time. It’d be likely he goes on loan again next season.
“I wouldn’t be surprised in Smith Rowe is kept among the first team for the 2020/21 campaign.”
Emirates Airline | Trevor Belle
In other news, the Mirror points out worries about Arsenal’s sponsorship deal with The Emirates airline, given the collapse of air travel.
And finally, condolences to family and friends of taxi driver and Arsenal fan, Trevor Belle, who died of Covid-19 after being spat at by someone who was dodging a fare.
A GoFundMe page for Mr Belle has been set up to cover the costs of a funeral and “celebration of his life”: