The latest Premier League club meeting on ‘Project Restart’ has seen a five-hour video conference call focus on neutral stadiums and contract extensions.
Multiple reports claim that the 20 Premier League clubs remain split over the plan to use neutral stadiums but they did agree to extend the contracts of players who are out of contract on July 1. Per the report, a key vote on the season resuming will take place on May 18.
Following the meeting Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has revealed he will speak with the government to ask if home and away games are possible rather than neutral venues, as all clubs agreed they wanted to play at home, if possible.
All 20 Premier League clubs have so far agreed that they want to finish the current season but only when things improve and it is safe to play again, while England’s top-flight has been given the green light by the government that it can return after June 1.
More details have since emerged from the government about a possible restart in a 50-page document released on Monday, with the note below most interesting to Premier League fans, clubs and players hoping of a restart soon as the league has been suspended since March 13.
“Permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact.”
That last part about ‘large-scale social contact’ is key as it appears that playing games in neutral stadiums is vital to the season returning.
Several clubs (Watford, Brighton and Aston Villa) have publicly opposed the plan to play the remaining 92 games of the 2019-20 Premier League season at neutral stadiums and per the report as many as six clubs remain against using neutral stadiums to complete the season.
As for the player contracts, several Premier League stars are out of contract on June 30 and clubs have been given the green light to open up talks about extending the contracts until the end of the 2019-20 season, if they can come to an agreement with the player.
In short, the likes of Willian, Pedro and Olivier Giroud at Chelsea, plus Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham, can play the final in the final nine games of the season then become free agents whenever the 2019-20 season ends. As for Hakim Ziyech, who is set to join Chelsea on July 1, it remains to be seen if he will be able to play during the 2019-20 campaign.