The proposed return-to-action plan for the English Football League has given the closest indication yet of when the Premier League could realistically resume.
The EFL, like the English top flight, is currently suspended with no games for the likes of the Championship, League One and League Two during the coronavirus pandemic.
But like the Premier League, the organisation are in ongoing talks over how and when the campaign can restart, factoring in the projected peak of the virus in the UK.
All games can be expected to be played behind closed doors, with there being no intention at this stage to void the season despite the FA’s controversial decision to expunge results in Steps 3 to 7 of the National League system.
According to ESPN, the EFL have pencilled in June 6 as their likely return date, which is still eight weeks away.
In this proposal, clubs would return to training on May 16, allowing a three-week ‘pre-season’ for players to reconvene and work their way towards full fitness before kickoff.
This is in line with previous suggestions for the Premier League, including a recent report that all games would be played over a five-week period starting in June.
It is reasonable to predict that the top flight’s plan will mirror that of the EFL, as all parties will be eager to resume play as early as possible within government safety guidelines.
A June 6 return would mean England has been without Premier League football for 88 days, but would provide time for the remaining fixtures to be played out in a condensed timeframe before beginning the 2020/21 campaign.
How the fixtures would be reorganised remains to be seen, but they are likely to be played in the sequence currently scheduled, albeit over a shorter period.
Liverpool would then likely take on Everton on June 6/7 and then Crystal Palace on June 10/11, which could see Jurgen Klopp‘s side clinch the title by mid-June.
As ESPN stress, however, these plans “depend entirely on government’s advice and the extent of the lockdown measures in the UK,” but “there is optimism that football can return by the beginning of June.”