With the German Bundesliga set to resume play this weekend, fans of the Premier League are asking when will they see the restart of play.
Last week, the Premier League announced its “Project Restart” campaign that set the groundwork for the resumption of play for the EPL and lower leagues.
Today, the UK government expanded on the restart plan by giving professional sports teams the okay to return to competition — albeit behind closed doors — starting June 1st, with a realistic date of June 12th for the return of football.
“Sporting events behind closed doors for broadcast which I think would provide a much-needed boost to national morale,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
The restart of professional sporting leagues was the second part of the UK government’s larger “Our Plan to Rebuild” plan permitting “cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact.”
A meeting will be held on Monday with all 20 teams in the Premier League to give further clarity on when the league will start back up.
One issue being floated is the possibility of teams playing on neutral grounds to control the possible spread of the coronavirus, meaning although Manchester United might be the home team, they might not be playing at Old Trafford.
As you can imagine, teams are strongly opposed to this idea and it is understood that during Monday’s meeting they plan on asking league officials to reconsider and allow them to play on home and away grounds.
Project Restart helps add assurance that the current season will be carried out and not voided as was thought to happen during the height of the virus crisis.
Earlier today FA chairman Greg Clarke told Premier League clubs that the FA will not sanction “no relegation” or void the season, reinforcing that the season should be decided on ‘sporting merit’ which means teams will either play out the remaining 92 games or the league table will be decided on points per game.
All 20 Premier League clubs have so far agreed that they want to finish the current season when things improve and it is safe to play again, but relegation for the six teams in the relegation zone is a sticking point.
The bottom six clubs wanted relegation taken off the table if neutral stadiums are to be used as they feel the sporting integrity of the league would be called into question. But after the FA’s announcement, that concern doesn’t seem to have been listened to.
The Premier League will meet with players and managers in the coming days and the UK government on Thursday to plan out how the season will return, with a key vote on restarting the 2019-20 campaign expected next Monday, May 18.