Premier League ‘Project Restart’ Timeline

*Alex Munene*

English elite competition is working toward restart as the sport battles the corona-virus pandemic.

The premier league has been on pause since mid-march following a suspension which was first set to end on April 4, then April 30 and later indefinitely, both Champion’s league and Europa league followed by pausing all their remaining matches. 

Liverpool is waiting to be crowned EPL champions for the first time for 3 decades and the first premier league title since it started in 1992. The European competitors for the next season also remain unknown and should be determined, and the battle for relegation and promotion remains far from over.

UEFA is still hopeful of completing their tournament this summer and has left individual leagues to decide their fate. According to UEFA, if the league is to be canceled at this point, next season, European places will be awarded according to sporting merits. This would see the current top four teams (Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester, and Chelsea) qualifying for next season champions league. However, if Manchester city ban is upheld, This would see Man United (who are currently occupying position 5 in the premier league with 45 points three behind Chelsea who are sitting at number four spot) being awarded the place and return to European elite completion after an absence of almost one and half years. The Cityzens would not be able to participate in any European competition after being found guilty of breaching financial fair play regulation.

Returning to training sessions

Several premier league clubs, including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United, have already returned to the training grounds. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be updating the country on lockdown status on May 10, The Premier League will subsequently discuss the ‘project restart’ the following day.

Some clubs have started preparing for the league restart by calling players currently overseas with Chelsea calling Kepa, Pedro, Willian, and Marcos Alonso.

The premier league return decision will be heavily reliant on government announcements on Sunday with clubs hoping to return for full contact training on May 25 and a possible return to action on the second Friday of June.

Premier league restart

Clubs are hoping to return to action on June 12 to complete the remaining 92 matches within seven weeks. All games are set to be played behind closed doors. Football managers want the fans to have full coverage of all matches. As such, no two matches will be played simultaneously in what has been named the ‘world cup’ style. 

British foreign minister is also very confident that the restart of the premier league would lift the country’s spirit and also confirmed that matches would be played behind closed doors following active consideration with the government.

TV coverage

Broadcast Giants sky sport and BT sport are understood to have the broadcasting right of 47 matches of remaining 92 matches.

According to reports, both broadcasters are planning to use their YouTube account to air all matches for free. The premier league is actively considering bringing amazon prime on bound as a third broadcaster.

FA cup

Before the suspension of all football activities in England, the FA cup was going for the last eight stages of the competition. FA is considering playing all the remaining seven matches in Wembley stadium. However, no date of possible return has been disclosed, although the FA is planning to complete the remaining games in early august before European competition resume as both Manchester club are still in the haunt of continental glory.

UEFA Champions leagues

Football’s most prestigious club competition is hopeful of completion in August, with 17 fixtures remaining. Atletico Madrid and PSG are the only two clubs who have booked their place in quarter-finals. The majority of the last 16 2nd leg matches are yet to be completed.

UEFA has confirmed that both quarter-finals and semifinals will be played over one-legged tie in a neutral grounds,

European football governing body hopes Champion’s league and Europa league can resume on 7th august with matches played twice a week. The semifinal will be held between August 17 and 22nd before the final is hosted on August 29 in Istanbul.

The next season European competitions expected to kick off in mid-September after a short break.

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