Finally, the English Premier League (EPL) clubs have agreed to shake off the dampening effect of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) to restart the season in just three weeks’ time in what is a huge breakthrough for their Project Restart plans. Since the plan was initiated, there has been mixed reactions from both the government, health officials, players, managers and the entire value chain of the EPL.
The Premier League have desperately been trying to finalise plans to get the season back underway again following its suspension at the beginning of March amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed many lives the world over. The weekend of June 20 has been lined up as the first full round of fixtures following the Premier League’s resumption although Manchester City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United are set to go ahead on Wednesday, June 17. These two matches are the ‘games in hand’ for these four clubs, which will take all 20 Premier League teams up to 29 fixtures for the season.
Another game may be played on Friday, June 19 – Tottenham vs Manchester United could be set for that slot, but the first full round of fixtures will start on Saturday, June 20, with matches staggered across the weekend. In total, there are 92 matches remaining in the season. The Premier League confirmed the news on Thursday evening following the conclusion of the league’s Shareholders’ meeting.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said in a statement: ‘Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.
‘Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home. We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season.’