With doubts cast over whether the 2019-20 Premier League season will finish amid the coronavirus pandemic, all 20 clubs remain united in wanting to play out the remaining 92 games.
The UK government are set to make an announcement next week as the lockdown measures are in place until May 7. They confirmed they are in talks with the Premier League about returning to action as soon as possible, as ‘project restart’ has put plans in place for how the Premier League to return from its suspension.
Our partners at Sky Sports have the following quote from an anonymous Premier League owner on the situation, as plans are in place for testing, players to wear masks during training and more.
“There is a great will to play the games. We simply can’t afford to not play but nothing will be done without government approval. If we wait for a vaccine or herd immunity it could be 18 months without football and 90 per cent of clubs would go bust. Even if we sacked 95 per cent of our employees, we’d still go bust because we would still have to pay the players.”
The latest Premier League meeting with clubs takes place on Friday and it is believed proposals will be discussed about testing players for COVID-19, a date to return to training and games possibly returning from June 8.
Yet, there are concerns that the Premier League may not finish the 2019-20 season as FIFA’s chief medical officer has said games should not return before September, while the French government have ended the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 campaigns. On top of that, the Dutch Eredivisie has been canceled, while there are growing concerns about Italy’s Serie A returning.
Even the German Bundesliga, which was preparing to return to action next week, looks to be delaying their plans due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Germany.
Simply put, this is a fluid situation and a decision on finishing the 2019-20 Premier League season can only be made after the UK government releases details on its latest lockdown orders next week.
It appears that the UK has gone past the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and government officials have met with leading medical directors from professional sports to plan a path forward and back to action. The main issue is how the 200-500 people present at these games will be tested for COVID-19.
One of the proposals on the table is for games to be played at a neutral venue such as England’s St George’s Park training facility.