The Premier League reiterated its commitment to finishing the 2019-20 season after a meeting of all 20 clubs Friday, amid reports the league will formally vote on its return from suspension due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic next week.
“The [league] and clubs are considering the first tentative moves forward,” a statement read, “and will only return to training and playing with Government guidance, under expert medical advice and after consultation with players and managers.”
The 20 clubs will vote on a plan next Friday eyeing a June 8 restart, The Independent’s Miguel Delaney reported. Playing games at neutral sites is a key component of this plan, according to Delaney, with two clubs in favor of ending the season raising particular objections.
The Guardian’s David Hynter and Paul McInnes reported Thursday that teams are purchasing testing machines that can provide results within two-and-a-half hours. Though France’s Ligue 1, the Dutch Eredivisie and Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League have canceled the remainder of their seasons, Delaney reported that Ligue 1’s decision “only brought a renewed commitment to finishing this campaign.”
May 7 marks the end of the British government’s current lockdown measures, and the Premier League’s plan depends in part upon the expectation the government will ease certain social-distancing guidelines, according to the Daily Telegraph’s Sam Wallace. BBC Sport reported that players will be screened for symptoms daily and tested twice a week if social-distancing rules aren’t relaxed when training resumes, and those will be enforced at training grounds.
The Premier League said in its statement Friday that it will consult with players and managers on any such plans, and some players have publicly expressed reservations about the risks of playing as the coronavirus continues to spread.
"The majority of players are scared because they have children and families," Manchester City star Sergio Aguero told Argentine TV station El Chiringuito (via BBC Sport). “ … They're saying that there are people that have it and don't have any symptoms but still infect you. That's why I am here at home. Maybe I have the illness and I don't even know."