Project Restart: Premier League Players Want Final Say Over Training Return as Potential Return Date

With each passing day, the return of the Premier League seems to move one step closer while simultaneously taking two steps back. There are so many questions and not enough answers right now.

The powers that be are working to come up with those solutions, but it's finding something which pleases everyone which is proving problematic. Players and officials from different clubs all have different viewpoints.

Let's take a look at the latest on 'Project Restart'.

Players Want Final Say

It's all well and good for the government to decide that players can return to work, but what if the athletes themselves don't actually want to?

Sky Sports News note that Premier League players want the final say on when they return to training and playing, and although the majority are eager to get back to normality as soon as possible, there is a sizeable group of players who are understandably hesitant.

One club executive insisted that players will not be forced to train if they don't feel comfortable, but another added that anyone who refuses to train will not be paid.

Bottom-Half Sides Pushing to Scrap Relegation

Aston Villa v Norwich City - Premier League

At least six Premier League teams - Brighton, West Ham, Watford, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich - are all understood to be eager to see relegation scrapped if they are made to complete the season at neutral venues.

League officials are pushing for all clubs to agree to finish the season at neutral venues, but Sky Sports News add that those aforementioned teams aren't happy with the fact that they could still be relegated as the dynamic of the league would be different.

Teams in the bottom half all have different numbers of home and away games left to play, and those with more home games would normally be seen as having a slight advantage. Playing at neutral venues would obviously take that away, and teams aren't happy.

14 clubs need to back the neutral venue proposal, and it seems like at least six will oppose it unless things change.

Government 'to Confirm Return Date'

The Telegraph state that Premier League sides had hoped for more guidance from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech on Sunday ahead of their meeting on Monday, but they are expected to hear directly from parliament imminently.

Professional sports are expected to be given the green light to return on 12 June, assuming safe conditions can be met and the coronavirus outbreak can be controlled.

The Premier League are said to be committed to a return to training in the near future in the hope of being ready to start playing games in June, giving teams at least three weeks to get up to speed.

Concerns Over Clubs' Attempts to Persuade Players

The Premier League Logo and Protective Face Mask

All 20 Premier League clubs want to see football return, but the Daily Mail note that executives have been doing a little too much when trying to persuade their players to back 'Project Restart' and return to finish the season.

Amid fears that clubs are prioritising money over safety, it is suggested that some players have been unofficially promised new contracts if they choose to support the cause, and club executives are also rumoured to have pressured senior players into pushing for wage cuts in the dressing room.

Having said that, some clubs have also made it clear that players do not need to back the restart if they do not feel comfortable doing so, but there are concerns that some sides have put unfair pressure on their stars.

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Source : 90min