Latest Developments on Premier League Return Plans Ahead of Friday Meeting

​Baying for the return of football in any capacity, realistic targets need to be set. As seen in Spain and Italy, initial plans were put in place for football to return but have since been wiped, with both La Liga and Serie A now on hold indefinitely.

In England, an April 30 return has been scheduled for when the Premier League will come back, but with each passing day it seems less and less likely those targets will be hit as the coronavirus continues to have a significant impact on any strategies put in place.

Almost daily we're fed new scenarios about how the season could be completed - or indeed voided - as differing proposals are made. 

Here we round up the latest developments.

Premier League Clubs Rule Out Finishing Season in China


According to ​The Athletic, the idea of playing out the ​Premier League abroad was floated by one club's hierarchy. Needless to say, it was shot down immediately, but the fact that playing the English top flight in China shows that desperation is kicking in.

The Premier League looks set to lose £762m in broadcasting revenue if they are unable to complete the season, therefore, the idea of playing games outside of the country has been mooted as an option. Coronavirus began in China, but the rate of infections in the country as slowed drastically and it was considered as one of the options.

However, it is expected to be shot down unanimously with the majority expressing their lack of approval already. 

Clarity Sought in Date for Premier League Return


While there remains a date at present, the April 30 return looks set to be wiped later on Friday. Twice already we've seen the league postponed, but these dates are now being classed merely as a means to buy time while Premier League officials scramble together an idea.

As per the ​Independent, the competition's chiefs are now seeking clarity on return dates, with fixed times set for when football can feasibly return. That will allow clubs the chance to prepare their squads accordingly, and the notion of voiding the 2019/20 season can be well and truly discarded.

A video conference meeting is due to take place on Friday, where a return date will be discussed. However, while many are eyeing fixed dates, others disagree, as other Premier League officials feel the next two weeks are inappropriate times to discuss such measures. That is due to the UK being on course to experience its worse fortnight of the coronavirus crisis thus far.

Widespread Aim to Resume Seasons & Discount Voiding

With fears growing that the current campaigns could be cancelled and deemed null and void, a joint letter (via ​Matt Slater) from bosses of the European Club Association, European Leagues and UEFA that was sent to Europe’s Football Associations, leagues and clubs appears to quell such worries.

They state an intent finish the domestic season - sometime around July and August - and resume European competitions after those campaigns. That would mean ​Champions League and Europa League would take a backseat while each country seeks to complete the final part of their domestic campaigns.

The letter states stopping competitions entirely is a 'last resort', with a return for football ideally coming in mid-May. How feasible this is for domestic European seasons isn't known for sure, but the European Club Association, European Leagues and UEFA have made their intentions clear.

What Will be Discussed During Friday Meeting

As revealed by the ​BBC, the aforementioned meeting is due to take place on Friday, with the PFA expected to release a statement later on that evening. While working on a return date is high on the list of priorities, a plethora of talking points will be discussed with so much yet to be finalised - including the above letter.

One of the points of discussion will be the ongoing drama surrounding player wages. Daniel Levy drew criticism after announcing that Tottenham's non-playing staff would have 20% of their wages cut, meanwhile the playing squad's wages, at present, remain unaffected. This has sparked outrage in certain sectors, and Premier League officials will seek clarification on the matter.

Obviously the approach moving forward dominates all meetings, with various methods of finishing the season being mooted. One thing that is mostly agreed on, is to have some form of football return in June - with it widely expected the April 30 return will be pushed back - although it is acknowledged that wide-scale testing would be required in order for this is occur.

Fears over broadcasting contracts will also dominate the meeting. Leading figures want clarity on whether certain agreements are being broken, particularly with foreign broadcasters, as the prospect of the Premier League collectively losing £1.2bn looms large.

Source : 90min