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Premier League ‘aims to resume June 8’ with fan-free matches in limited number of venues

Premier League ‘aims to resume June 8’ with fan-free matches in limited number of venues

FOOTBALL: The English Premier League is eyeing a resumption of the season on June 8, behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, and reaching a climax on July 27, according to media reports.

FootballPremier-League
By AFP

Sunday 26 April 2020, 02:30PM


The Premier League has 92 matches remaining since it suspended the season on March 13 with Liverpool agonisingly close to their first ever EPL title. Photo: AFP

The Premier League has 92 matches remaining since it suspended the season on March 13 with Liverpool agonisingly close to their first ever EPL title. Photo: AFP

The Times claims that football chiefs, along with other sports governing bodies, have been holding talks with the British government about when they can resume play and at only “approved grounds”.

The Premier League has 92 matches remaining since it suspended the season on March 13 with Liverpool agonisingly close to their first ever EPL title.

The Times says Premier League bosses shared their “Project Restart” proposal with shareholders last week.

The matches would be played behind closed doors - a maximum of 400 people would be permitted to attend including media, and only if they tested negative for the virus - and at selected stadiums to limit stretching the limited resources of medical services.

Extra changing facilities would be introduced to ensure social distancing measures were in place whilst players would be required to turn up for training individually and already in their kit.

They have also suggested Aug 22 as the date for the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

The main sticking point, though, remains the lack of tests available.

Should the season be unable to resume - the Dutch football championship was abandoned without promotion or relegation on Friday (Apr 24), with leaders Ajax denied the title - it would be a financial nightmare for the clubs.

Thanyapura Health 360

The EPL is working with DLA Piper - a law firm that has advised on TV rights deals for the league in the past - on an emergency loan fund, with a maximum of £10 million (B401mn) per club if needed.

Some clubs have taken measures agreed with their players to ease the financial burden.

Southampton, West Ham United, Sheffield United and Watford have agreed on salary deferrals with their first-team squads while the majority of Arsenal’s players have agreed on a 12.5% wage reduction.

In France, meanwhile, Ligue 1 bosses said footballers in the top flight would return to their clubs in the week starting May 11 to undergo “full medical checkups” with a view to restarting play in June pending government clearance.

The board of the French League (LFP) met on Friday to review the main points of a draft document on medical and health protocols presented by a representative of club doctors, it said in a statement.

The document “foresees a return of players to training centres the week of May 11 to carry out full medical checkups, as well as swab tests, followed by daily monitoring, which will be detailed … between now and the end of April”, it said.

The LFP has also indicated its preferred option remains a “resumption of leagues in mid-June subject to knowing the terms of easing confinement measures which will be presented by the government in the coming days”.

France is currently under a nationwide lockdown until May 11.

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