It seems increasingly likely that the 2019-20 Premier League season will be concluded, according to fresh reports.
No top-flight football has been played in England since March 9 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has threatened to lead to the cancellation of the entire campaign.
It was announced on Friday that the 2019-20 Eredivisie season is now over, meaning there will be no promotion or relegation and that leaders Ajax will not be crowned champions of the Netherlands.
But the ‘Premier League remains committed to completing the 92 outstanding matches and has drawn up plans to broadcast about half of them live’, according to new details published by The Times.
They understand that the Premier League is planning to resume the season with matches at “approved” stadiums when the UK government grants permission for clubs to return to action.
They unveiled a plan labelled “Project Restart” at a meeting of shareholders last week, while a potential restart date of June 8 has been mooted.
The season would then continue until July 27, with August 22 earmarked as the opening day of the 2020-21 campaign.
In a separate report, The Sun’s deputy political editor Matt Dathan adds that Premier League football could now be back on TV ‘within weeks’.
Boris Johnson has been briefed on plans for matches to be played behind closed doors, they add, with the Prime Minister of the opinion that the resumption of live sport is key to boosting the nation’s morale following weeks of lockdown.
The EFL is likely to start at a later date, according to government insiders, due to logistical and financial challenges.
But before any football can resume, the government would have to meet its five restart tests, including cutting death and infection rates of Covid-19.
In their report, The Times add that the Premier League plans include a protocol for returning to training which would see players travel individually to and from training grounds while arriving dressed in their kit.
Additional changing facilities would be provided to maintain social distancing before matches, while there would also be distancing measures in place for pre-match warm-ups.
Up to 400 people - including media - would be allowed to attend matches provided they test negative for Covid-19.
Ninety-two fixtures are still to be played but the Premier League remains committed to completing them all.
All going well, it seems Premier League football may well be back in our lives before we know it.
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