The Premier League is formulating plans that could see the 2019/20 season resume behind closed doors as soon as 8 June in a move that has been dubbed ‘Project Restart’.
No Premier League football has been played for seven weeks as a result of the coronavirus crisis, while the UK has been under a sort of attempted nationwide lockdown for the last six.
A number of Premier League clubs have agreed wage deferrals with players to combat a shortfall in revenue while no games are taking place, with most of Arsenal’s squad accepting a 12.5% cut.
UEFA have provided additional flexibility with regard to allowing domestic European leagues to adopt a reduced format to play out remaining games or even abandon the season altogether if there is no way that outstanding fixtures can be safely played in full.
The latest report on the matter from The Times explains that the Premier League outlined its ‘Project Restart’ at a recent shareholders meeting. That would see matches resume behind closed doors and at a limited number of venues – the general idea has been rumoured for a while.
The newspaper notes that the Premier League is ‘committed’ to completing all 92 remaining fixtures, with up to 400 people, including broadcasting personnel, potentially permitted to attend each one.
8 June was already thought to be the earliest date the Premier League could possibly resume, which under this proposal would mean things could be wrapped up by 27 July and the 2020/21 campaign begin with as little delay and disruption as possible on 22 August.
Theoretically it sounds as though it has legs. But the need for regular testing for everyone involved – even a single negative test could derail the whole system given the potential for unknowing spreading of the virus – is going to remain a key factor with regard to viability.
As 90min’s own Chris Deeley recently summarised, “If everything went perfectly, it could work. There's no human way it goes perfectly.”
Source : 90min