The Premier League season remains halted as the coronavirus pandemic grips the sporting world and no clear conclusion is in sight yet.
Top-flight clubs have a combined 92 matches left to play in the 2019/20 campaign and there is plenty still to be decided.
While Liverpool are on the verge of clinching the title, the relegation battle and the race for the European places are still wide open.
The ongoing issues surrounding coronavirus has meant the Premier League has been put on hold and there are many questions up in the air.
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– How long has the Premier League been suspended for?
Manchester City vs Arsenal was the first Premier League fixture to be postponed on Wednesday, March 11.
The following weekend’s top-flight matches were subsequently called off and there has been no action since then.
EFL matches, the FA Cup quarter-finals, Champions League and Europa League games and international fixtures have also been pushed back.
Euro 2020 has been rescheduled for next summer to give domestic leagues the chance to get their seasons finished if possible.
– When is the Premier League likely to resume?
There has still been no confirmation as to when the Premier League will resume, but ‘Project Restart’ aims to bring top-flight football back on Friday, June 12.
Meetings between Premier League stakeholders have been taking place since football was suspended, with the next meeting scheduled for next Monday.
Teams are expected to begin training together from next week, and the government have given the green light for football to go ahead behind closed doors no earlier than June.
UK Government’s coronavirus recovery strategy confirms no professional sport in England until June when it may return behind closed doors
Give COVID-19 the red card
The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again…
STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:
- to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
- to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.
The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
– Will the Premier League season be voided?
The league are desperate to play the remaining games as the cost of cancelling it could be up to £1billion, according to chief executive Richard Masters.
Sky, BT and overseas rights holders have already paid the Premier League for their full season’s broadcast rights, despite a quarter of the campaign left to play.
So scrapping the campaign will mean broadcasters will look to recoup millions.
The Premier League insist no clubs have been asking for the curtailment of the season with all 20 teams hoping to play the 2019/20 campaign to completion.
– What could happen to the Premier League season?
One proposal has been to play all remaining matches at neutral venues, though reports have claimed this will no longer be the case. After positive talks with police and the government, it has been decided that clubs can host games at their usual stadiums as long as they pay the increased policing and stewarding costs.
The ‘Project Restart’ proposal would see all the remaining matches completed in a seven-week period, with FA Cup games also played in that timeframe.
This would allow players to have a short time off before returning for pre-season ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
Premier League season ‘to be completed in seven-week window’ with plan to start on June 12
– What has the government said?
The government’s road map for leaving lockdown, published on Monday, May 11, confirmed sport may be able to resume in June as long as it takes place behind closed doors.
Step two of the road map, which cannot begin any earlier than June 1, includes ‘permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact’.
This will only be possible though if sufficient progress is made in limiting the spread of the virus between now and then, but the document entitled ‘Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy’ says that ‘organisations should plan accordingly’.
– What are the problems?
Premier League club doctors have expressed their concern over plans to resume with senior medical professionals seeking assurances relating to the safety of all involved in football.
Medics have put together a 100-point letter to the Premier League’s medical advisor Mark Gillett and director of football Richard Garlick listing potential problems with resuming the season during the coronavirus pandemic.
A number of top-flight clubs are already back in training with plans to start playing again in June and there are concerns some are already breaching social distancing guidelines.
Other issues raised include approving guidelines which still carry the threat of death, liability, testing and insurance, transmission of the virus via sweat and goalkeeper gloves, an increased risk to BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) employees, and the ability of emergency services to attend training ground incidents.
Players have also expressed their concern over resuming matches, with Danny Rose, the Tottenham defender on loan at Newcastle, a key critic.
He said of the ‘Project Restart’ proposal: “It’s a f***ing joke, I’m not even going to lie. The government is saying bring football back because it’s going to boost the nation’s morale, I don’t give a f*** about the nation’s morale.
“People’s lives are at risk, you know what I mean? Football shouldn’t even be spoken about coming back until the numbers have dropped massively. It’s b*******.”
– What else has the Premier League said?
As well as supporting the NHS and promoting public health messages, the Premier League detailed its discussions regarding its players and clubs in lower leagues.
A statement on April 3 read: “In the face of substantial and continuing losses for the 2019/20 season since the suspension of matches began, and to protect employment throughout the professional game, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 per cent of total annual remuneration.
“This guidance will be kept under constant review as circumstances change.
“The league will be in regular contact with the PFA, and the union will join a meeting which will be held tomorrow [April 4] between the league, players and club representatives.”
It added: “Discussions also took place regarding financial relief for clubs in the short term and while there is no single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately deal with the impact of falling cash flow.
“Critically, the league unanimously voted to advance funds of £125 million to the EFL and National League as it is aware of the severe difficulties clubs throughout the football pyramid are suffering at this time.”
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