It was on March 11 when the first cancelled match happened on the English Premier League because of the COVID-19 threats. Two days later, on March 13, it was then made official that the whole season will have to be postponed.
Many people, especially fans were relieved or disappointed about the postponement of this season. They were simply looking forward to seeing Liverpool get crowned. Some are also looking forward to seeing who will place for the Championship League. People were simply ready to watch the matches and even place their bets on sites like 10Cric.
Since the announcement that the matches will have to be postponed, the league has been vocal about their hopes to resume the rest of the season sometime in June. The cancellation of the whole season is unlikely and is a route that they wouldn’t want to take.
Currently, the league is likely to pick the rest of the season up on the weekend of June 13. There are no solid plans yet but the league and the 20 clubs involved in this year’s Premier League season sat down on a recent video conference meeting to discuss Project Restart.
Project Restart is what they are calling or labelling the plans and proposals on how the league would go about the continuation of this year’s EPL.
The proposals laid on the table for Project Restart include letting the matches take place on neutral grounds and behind closed doors. This means that there will no longer be the home advantage that could lure fans in the venue when matches are taking place.
To really prevent people from going to the live matches, the venue and other details about the match will have to be kept a secret at least until a few days before the match.
The executives of the league also want to make sure that they have access to every game scheduled for the rest of this season. This means that no matches should be played simultaneously.
When it comes to the broadcasting of these game, Sky Sports and BT Sport own the rights to the 47 of the final 92 games. These networks can utilize their YouTube channels to air the matches for free. Amazon is also seen as a potential third broadcaster. It is likely that the matches will only be streamed online as of now.
It also appears that the government will be supporting the return of the Premier League next month. Dominic Raab, The First Secretary of the State believes that the return of the Premier League will help boost or lift the spirits of the nation. However, the green light for the league to return will only be given when it is already safe to do so.
Still, there’s no denying that the government wants football back as soon as possible. The culture secretary also said that it could lift the spirits of the nation.
The football clubs were already advised to prepare to return to training by May 18. This is to prepare the players in case the Premier League does return by the weekend of June 13. If it does, the season is expected to be completed in seven weeks.
This may still be quite a process to go through because after the clubs agree on any proposals concerning Project Restart, they will still have to convince or even persuade the payers to go into the field. The problem with this is that there are players who have contracts that will expire by the end of June.
It could be hard to persuade players who have families as there are already some of them who are vocal about their worries on not only their own safety but also of their young family members. To be able to convince these players, it is a must that all their concerns will be addressed and that solid plans will be laid out for the rest of the season. This includes testing, where they will be housed for safety, and what will happen to them once all the matches are done.
The clubs are scheduled to have another video conference call on the following day of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s update on the country’s lockdown on May 10. If in case the league has decided and will be allowed to resume on the second weekend of June, plans should be ready by at least May 25.
For now, football fans are still awaiting the decisions that will be made in the next conference call between the football clubs. It is possible that the plans for Project Restart will be much clearer by then.