Report: Premier League plans ‘project restart’ for June return
The Premier League return date might be closer to reality. Per multiple reports, they are planning to resume the 2019-20 season in June as there is renewed hope the campaign will be completed in full with ‘project restart’ put in place to return to action during the coronavirus pandemic.
A report from our partners in the UK, Sky Sports, says a return just over six weeks from now is the main aim and that comes after the top-flight season in the Netherlands was canceled, plus the top tiers in Belgium and Scotland are expected to follow suit soon.
Clubs will meet this Friday, May 1, for their latest conference call to discuss the Premier League return date plan for finishing the league season in empty stadiums.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden in the UK also had this to say in the House of Commons.
“I personally have been in talks with the Premier League, with a view to getting football up and running as soon as possible in order to support the whole football community,” Dowden said. “But, of course, any such moves would have to be consistent with public health guidance.”
It appears that the UK has gone past the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and government officials are now set to meet with leading medical directors from professional sports to plan a path forward and back to action. The main issue is how the 200-500 people present at these games will be tested for COVID-19.
The UK is currently under lockdown orders until May 7 but an update on a possible relaxation of social distancing measures is expected before then.
Per the report, games could resume behind closed doors as early as June 8 with a full return to training on May 18. The Premier League hopes to finish the season by the end of July, as UEFA can then prioritize the latter stages of the Champions League and Europa League throughout August.
There is still a lot to sort out when it comes to transfers too, as FIFA have suggested a transfer window between the 2019-20 season ending and 2020-21 season starting but leagues around the world will not be aligned.
Premier League clubs Arsenal, West Ham and Brighton have opened their training grounds so players can train individually and it is expected other teams will follow suit in the coming days. It is not known yet whether clubs will play games at empty stadiums or at neutral venues such as the English FA’s sprawling St George’s Park training complex.
There have been many reports about the Premier League return date ever since the 2019-20 season was suspended on March 13 due to the pandemic but this seems like the most positive. It also comes after Serie A clubs were given the green light by the Italian government for players to return for individual training on May 4 and then group training on May 18 before a possible resumption to the Italian top-flight season at the start of June.
Germany’s Bundesliga says it is ready to return in early May if the government agrees it can go ahead, while the situation in Spain and France is less clear as their governments continue to plan to reopen after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Plans are starting to be put in place for the Premier League to return.