Hallelujah! The Premier League is coming back!
After Leicester City defeated Aston Villa 4-0 at King Power Stadium on March 9, the league has not played a game since due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, the clubs approved “Project Restart” and the return is set for June 17.
The first fixtures to be played will be Manchester City against Arsenal and Aston Villa versus Sheffield United as they are the only teams with 10 matches remaining on their schedule.
After those fixtures are played, the remaining 90 games will begin on June 19 with hopes that the season will be finished by August 1. The FA Cup Final is expected to be played a week later before the remaining Champions League and Europa League matches, assuming the coronavirus will not be in effect as much by this time period.
There are still several issues that need to be addressed before the league can return. For example, some fixtures may need to be played at neutral venues if people decided to gather outside the stadium. Also, Liverpool, the current leaders this season, may have to play their remaining home matches away from Anfield.
Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, is anticipating the return of the league, but is keeping a closing eye on everything occurring from now until the expected start date.
“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…”
The league has decided to increase the testing capacity from 50 to 60 starting this week. If anyone tests positive for the virus, they will be asked to self-isolate for seven days.
Even though there is still work to be done in order for the league to return, Premier League fans across the globe can celebrate the progress that is being made to make sure it returns.