EPL legend Arsene Wenger warns against spectator-free games in the long run

  • EPL great Arsene Wenger is not convinced that empty stadiums can work as a long-term solution.
  • The Arsenal legend also presents his view on the 5-substitution rule and explains why it is a step in the right direction.
Modified 17 May 2020, 23:47 IST

Arsenal v Burnley - Premier League
Arsenal v Burnley - Premier League

Legendary EPL manager Arsene Wenger had a bittersweet reaction to the weekend's Bundesliga games. The former Arsenal manager told beIN SPORTS that football's transition to normalcy will not be easy for the players or for the fans.

Wenger, who spent most of his illustrious career in the EPL, stated that fans are an integral part of the game. With the EPL set to resume the 2019-20 season with empty stadiums, the EPL great noted the emptiness that the new guidelines brought to the beautiful game.

"The football show is made of two departments: the players and the spectators. On the other side of the game is people who watch the show. We have suppressed spectators and only the players are there so it looks a bit empty."
"I must say, the commitment of the players is great. I am a football person, so I still enjoy watching the game technically."

New EPL guidelines cannot survive in the long term, according to Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes that the "empty stadium" solution cannot survive
Arsene Wenger believes that the "empty stadium" solution cannot survive

While Wenger pointed out that the absence of fans will affect the aura surrounding the game in the long term, the former EPL manager acknowledged that the current guidelines are the best possible solution to a unique problem.

"Does it survive in the longer term? Will it damage the show in the longer term without supporters? I am convinced of that. This can be a short-term solution and not a long-term solution. You cannot imagine a whole season without spectators."
"It is still the best possible way to have a verdict at the end of the season. It is better than any other decision."

With several countries locked down during the break, the cancellation of the 2019-20 EPL season was a genuine possibility. The Arsenal legend was optimistic about the new schedule and a definitive end to the EPL season.

Wenger also discussed the new rule allowing teams to make a total of five substitutions in each game. The EPL great claimed that the change in the framework was necessary to prevent player fatigue and ensure that matches took place in a fair manner.

"We proposed five substitutions for one single reason: the schedule is congested. It will be interesting to watch how it will be used over one month."
"I believe it is a good idea because some smaller teams would drop some games and would not play their full sides every three days. This encourages them to play their best possible side every single day."

With the Bundesliga rebooting their campaign and clubs across the world resuming training sessions, Wenger is positive that EPL's superstars are ready to get back on the pitch and proceed with the season.

"I think it is a good decision. Looking at the game today, I think the teams are quite ready."

The Bundesliga concluded their weekend of football successfully, with Borussia Dortmund steamrolling Schalke 04 in the Ruhr valley derby and Erling Haaland back to his best. The Premier League was last seen in action on the 8th of March, and fans of the EPL can take heart from Wenger's words as they eagerly await a decisive end to the season.

Published 17 May 2020, 23:47 IST
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