The 2019-20 Premier League season will restart on June 17, the league confirmed Thursday.
‘Project Restart’ is all systems go.
[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]
The Premier League held in-depth meetings with all 20 clubs and, among other matters, June 17 emerged as the date games will return. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Premier League season was suspended on March 13 with 92 games remaining.
As per the agreement, the two games in hand, Man City v. Arsenal and Aston Villa v. Sheffield United, will be played on June 17 so all teams are on 29 games played when then the rest of the games resume on June 19-21.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Below is the statement from Premier League chief executive Richard Masters on the return to action:
“Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority. Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.
“The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home. We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019/20 season.”
New kick off times have also been revealed, with games each weekend spread out across four days and every single game in a separate broadcast window. Midweek games will also take place in two windows.
Weekend match schedule
Friday: 3 p.m. ET
Saturday: 7:30 a.m., ET, 10 a.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. ET
Sunday: 7 a.m. ET, 9 a.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. ET, 2 p.m. ET
Monday: 3 p.m. ET
Midweek match schedule
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 1 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET
It is believed that the clubs want the Premier League season to be finished by August 1, so clubs can then focus on the FA Cup and European action in the Europa League and Champions League, while the 2020-21 season can then resume in early September.
Other reports suggest that a sticking point remains neutral stadiums as police forces in the UK want certain high-profile games to be played at neutral stadiums over fears of fans congregating outside home stadiums. However, it is believed the majority of games could be played at home stadiums as normal.
The meeting also discussed the plan for possible curtailment if playing the remaining games of the 2019-20 season is not possible.
All players and staff at Premier League clubs will be tested twice a week during the strict return to training protocols put in place, with contact training now allowed after a return to small-group training was a success.
The third round of COVID-19 testing saw a slight rise in positive tests compared to the last, as a total of 2,752 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out on Premier League players and staff with a total of 12 positive results.
All 20 Premier League clubs have agreed to return to contact training in stage two of the ‘Project Restart’ plan, as the main focus was to agree on a Premier League restart date that managers and players can now focus on.
Full steam ahead for ‘Project Restart’ for the Premier League.