It was in March when the English Premier League announced that the rest of the season will have to be postponed and not canceled. However, in the last week, the League is given the green light to come back next month. The specific date that the remaining 90 fixtures will start is on June 17. On this day, there will be two matches. The first is Manchester City vs Arsenal, followed by Aston Villa vs Sheffield.
All games are going to happen behind closed doors. This means that the players will have to play in empty stadiums to make sure that everybody else will remain safe in their homes. The rest of the season is expected to come through in six weeks. This means that the EPL should be completed by August the second.
All games will be broadcasted on TV, with the EPL broadcasting partners like Sky Sports. Fans should also be able to place bets with online bookies and on apps like bwin mobile. It is likely that no land bookie will be open by this time.
Now, prior to the release of the exact date of when the EPL will be back, the League has already approved contact training for the players. This is for them to prepare for the upcoming Project Restart. The allowing of contact training is the result of the votes between the 20 clubs involved in this season of the EPL.
Before this, the players are already back on training but they do this individually and not in teams. Some are not even supported by coaches and would only run tracks on parks and sidewalks. Liverpool is an example of this. The players have struggled with their running routine as people would recognize them on parks and sidewalks. This is why Liverpool reopened Melwood during the lockdown period in the UK.
They were allowed to do this because even if it reopened, only three players will be around to run on the premises. Training activities are also limited to running with no coaches around and only the medical assistance team was allowed to watch from a distance. Before the end of the lockdown, the training facilities remained closed too.
Since the government has already lifted the strict lockdown period and the League has already decided on allowing contact training for the players, then all training should resume. Still, they should try to avoid contact if it’s unnecessary.
The League is also careful about the virus, for sure. The players, the staff, and other people involved in the clubs are tested twice a week for the 2019 coronavirus. On the first round of testing, a total of 1,130 players and staff members were tested for the virus on May 28 and 29.
Based on last week’s testing, two players are known to have tested positive and these are Aaron Ramsdale from Bournemouth and Defender Adrian Mariappa from Warford. For this week, no players are reported to have tested positive.
Players who test positive are required to go in self-isolation for 1 week, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic.
It’s not surprising that there are players who think that the return of the EPL is a bit premature. Some are even scared for themselves and their families. Troy Deeney, Watford’s captain, talked about his and his team’s fears about returning.
Denney said in an interview, “I’m not in favor of the Premier League returning, in a sense that not everyone is comfortable with it,” Watford backup goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes said in a video interview. “I believe the virus isn’t going away from one day to another. We obviously hope it does, but the problem will remain until a vaccine is developed.”
He continued, “Some players need more time, and that can be a disadvantage to some smaller clubs as they don’t have too many replacements,” Gomes said. “We should only return when everyone is cool about it and we have more time for training and adapting.”
Based on the recent updates, it is also likely that each club will only be allowed to have 15 fit squad members play for the rest of the season. It was West Ham’s Vice-Chair Karren Brady, who disclosed this information. She said that based on the meeting of the club executives, they would only allow a team to fit enough to compete.
Brady said on her column at The Sun’s newspaper, “There are obvious and genuine concerns about what happens to your match results if your club has a number of players testing positive for coronavirus, or is in self-isolation, and as a result, you simply cannot field your usual or strongest starting XI. Well, as long as you have 15 fit players (including one goalkeeper) made up from either your 25-man squad list or from your under-21s you will be deemed to have a team fit enough to fulfill the fixture.”