After the Premier League recently acknowledged that the season will not resume at their originally scheduled date of May 1, the plan appears to be to return in June.
The league’s statement following their latest meeting on Friday was rightly ambiguous, with the priority being public safety over the resumption of the campaign.
Only when it is safe to do so will football make its comeback, and that could be months into the future as the likelihood of an extended lockdown in the UK increases.
However, according to the Mirror‘s David Maddock, the Premier League are now in “advanced talks” with the government regarding a behind-closed-doors return in June.
It is claimed there is a “tentative agreement,” with the government expected to “sanction games under strict guidelines,” though this remains contingent on if “the situation improves as expected.”
These guidelines would include, as previously discussed, all games to be played behind closed doors, with players avoiding as much contact off the pitch as possible—with the prospect of ‘quarantine hotels’ already mooted.
And interestingly, Maddock claims the Premier League are exploring the possibility of showing games on terrestrial TV to incentivise the ‘stay at home’ instruction.
He adds that players could, then, return to some form of traditional training next month, with fixtures being fulfilled in June described as a “very real prospect.”
This is a welcome update, and perhaps a realistic one given the timelines predicted over the peak of coronavirus but, as ever, there remains a huge caveat of ‘if’.
The Premier League can only return in June if the situation has improved sufficiently, and there can be no forcing the matter if the pandemic is yet to reach its peak in the UK.
Hope is fuelling these stories, and the discussions between Premier League and government, rather than any definitive ruling on coronavirus and football.