Project Restart Latest: Kick-Off Times Confirmed, FA Cup Dates, Agreement on 'Points Per Game' Syste

The Premier League is back, baby.

Or at least it should be, in about three weeks' time, after everyone has had the chance to disagree about it a little bit more.

England's top flight confirmed after much speculation on Thursday that it will return on Wednesday 17 June, assuming it is safe to do so - bringing to an end a near three-month hiatus.

First up, we'll be treated to Aston Villa vs Sheffield United and Manchester City vs Arsenal, the two games that were rearranged earlier this season due to the League Cup Final, which will ensure every team in the league will have played 30 matches.

That's a key detail, according to The Mirror, who say getting those particular fixtures on the docket first was a strategic move by the league in order to fairly implement an unweighted 'points per game' system, should the season be deemed unfinishable.

It's claimed Premier League clubs are in unanimous agreement over that, should the campaign need to be curtailed, which remains a possibility considering the tight timeframe it is operating within - and the wild unpredictability of the COVID-19 outbreak.

That is to be rubber-stamped at a(nother) vote on Thursday, which is expected to finalise plans and establish the finer details - which will include dates and times for the dystopian post-coronavirus version of English football.

The Premier League confirmed a list of planned kick-off times, brought to your Twitter timelines by David Ornstein. That will likely see Aston Villa vs Sheffield United brought to you at 18.00 on Wednesday 17 June, followed by the main event between City and Arsenal later that evening.

As we know, all games will be broadcast live - many free to air - but it is not yet clear which will be shown by which broadcaster.

The first full weekend round of fixtures, which will likely kick off on Friday 19 June, will feature a Merseyside Derby between Everton and Liverpool as well as Tottenham's key clash with Manchester United.

It's not just the Premier League that is returning, however. There is still the small matter of the FA Cup to resolve, with four quarter-finals - Sheffield United vs Arsenal, Norwich vs Manchester United, Leicester vs Chelsea and Newcastle vs Manchester City - all outstanding.

Dates for those quarter-final ties have been announced for the weekend of 27 June, with semi-finals two weeks later, followed by the final - as expected - on 1 August. All going to plan, that should mark the final day of the 2019/20 campaign.

All matches, in all competitions, will of course be played behind closed doors, and The Times report that some - including Liverpool's title decider - may be played at neutral venues, in order to prevent congregation outside stadiums.

It's unclear how effective that strategy will be, but with the virus going nowhere any time soon, fans remain strongly advised to stay indoors and away from others.

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Source : 90min