The Premier League met this past Friday for their third emergency meeting since Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi both tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-March.
This latest meeting saw the league postpone the season indefinitely but still with the hope that it could be concluded at some point this summer. It was tentatively targeted to get back underway on April 30th, but that scrapped without a new date set.
This is the statement they released on Friday:
“It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May – and that the 2019/20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
“The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic develops, and we work together through this very challenging time.
“The Premier League is working closely with the whole of professional football in this country, as well as with the Government, public agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the game achieves a collaborative solution.
“With this, there is a combined objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played, enabling us to maintain the integrity of each competition.
“However, any return to play will only be with the full support of Government and when medical guidance allows.
“The sporting and financial implications for Premier League clubs as well as for The FA, EFL and National League were considered at today’s meeting.”
One aspect of this statement that is crucial to getting this season completed is the reference to working with the Government. Without approval at the highest level, there’s no way the season will be allowed to resume.
The Mirror have an exclusive report which sheds some light on the Premier League’s contact with Government officials. According to the report, they are in advanced talks about resuming this season in early summer.
Shockingly, this report by David Maddock claims that they have reached a tentative agreement to restart the league in June. However, it is contingent on the pandemic improving by that time.
The Government expects to see a spike in positive cases of the coronavirus over the next few weeks with marked improvement after that. If that expectation unfolds over the next month, the league will be given the go-ahead to return.
There are, however, stringent restrictions that the league will need to abide by. The matches will have to be played in a controlled environment behind closed doors. Extensive measures will be in place to keep the stadiums and facilities sanitized.
Talks will be ongoing in the coming weeks as the situation becomes clearer and will be altered accordingly.
The clubs have been told to start preparing for a June return. There is also talk of a mini-training camp in late May that would be under the same contingencies of the matches with the players staying isolated from the general public.
This is an ambitious plan by the league to get this season completed. They have to be ultra-cautious not to make the situation any worse, but hopefully, the situation will have greatly improved so that this becomes a viable option.