Premier League to be back on June 17



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English Premier League will resume May 2020 Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

The Premier League is all set to restart on June 17 with English professional football clubs Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United and Manchester City locking horns with Arsenal. Of course, the games will start only if the Government gives the go-ahead.

The Premier League, often referred to as the English Premier League or the EPL outside England, is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League.

If the Government gives the thumbs-up, a full round of fixtures would then be played on the weekend of June 19-21.

There are 92 matches still left to be played, and the first to take place will be those the aforementioned four teams involved have in hand.

All matches will take place behind closed doors and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport or Amazon Prime.

Sky Sports will show 64 matches live and make 25 available free to air.

The Government is yet to issue safety guidelines and decisions will remain subject to the continuing war against COVID-19 which has left the world devastated.

The clubs have agreed to a provisional end date of July 25. It is understood that finishing the season would require six weekends and three midweek rounds.

Liverpool sits 25 points clear at the top of the heap while Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich City are in the relegation places.

“The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters,” Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said.

“It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home. The resumption date would not be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed,” Masters added.

If at all the season progresses as planned, the £340m rebate to TV companies can be phased over a period of time. However, if the games do not take place, the full sum will be due in July.

As far as the European competitions are concerned, the last 16 second-leg matches in the Champions League and Europa League are set to be played between August 6 and 8. Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Rangers and Wolves are all still very much involved. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) will discuss the plans at an executive committee meeting to be held in June before arriving at a final decision.

Premier League suspension

Coronaviurs taking on a full-blown form forced the suspension of Premier League on March 13 and it will be 100 days after Leicester City’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9 that competition might resume again.

Manchester City v Arsenal was already scheduled to be shown on Sky Sports, while Aston Villa v Sheffield United was not listed for live coverage when selections were announced in February this year.

Home and away matches look most likely for the vast majority of games – with a few celebrated games to be played at neutral venues at the request of the police.

Clubs – including Brighton and West Ham – are not open to the idea of using neutral grounds.

On Wednesday, clubs unanimously voted to resume contact training, having started non-contact training last week.

So far, 12 people have tested positive for the fatal respiratory disease after 2,752 tests across the league.

Premier League players and staff will continue to be tested twice a week, with the capacity increased from 50 to 60 tests per club for the fourth round of testing.

Self-isolation is must for a period of seven days for any players or staff who tests positive.

The third phase of Project Restart plans includes a step towards normal training and warm-up to competitive games.

 

Rest of Europe plans

  • On Thursday, Italy’s Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora confirmed that Serie A will return on June 20 after the league was suspended on March 9. Juventus lead the table by a point with 12 rounds of matches remaining.
     
  • Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced recently that La Liga can resume from June 8. Barcelona leads Real Madrid by two points at the top with 11 rounds of matches to play.
     
  • The German Bundesliga season restarted on May 16, becoming the first major league in Europe to return to the pitch. All matches are being played behind closed doors with Bayern Munich leading the way on 64 points.
     
  • The French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons will not resume, with Paris St-Germain being awarded the top-flight title.
     
  • On April 25 in the Netherlands, the Eredivisie was abandoned and Belgium’s Pro-League canceled its season, although the decision to ratify this is still pending.
     
  • And on May 18, Celtic was confirmed as Scottish champions for the ninth season in a row and Hearts relegated after the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) ended the season. The decision was taken at a board meeting after the 12 clubs agreed that completing the campaign was not possible.
     

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