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Premier League clubs set to give go ahead to restart season in June

 

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Richard Masters

Richard Masters

Getty Images for Premier League

Richard Masters

A raft of issues including a restart date and curtailment will be discussed when Premier League clubs gather again this morning.

The 20 English top-flight sides have voted unanimously in favour of protocols for a return to contact training, which is expected to start as soon as today for those clubs which have already completed the necessary risk assessments.

Speaking on Friday, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the league was "as confident as we can be" about resuming the season next month, with 92 fixtures still to play.

There is a huge amount of ground to cover in today's meeting, with the possibility that clubs may settle on a restart date.

June 12 had initially been reported, but managers and players have pushed for an extra week's preparation time.

Further talks will take place on curtailment. Clubs will need to settle on a model to be used in the event of a setback which prevents the 2019-20 season being finished in a reasonable time frame, with reports that the Premier League clubs are keen on getting the new season started in September.

Where the matches will be played will also be looked at. On May 1 clubs were understood to have been told that using eight to 10 neutral venues was the only way the season could be safely completed, but it is understood that home and away games are still possible, along with the neutral venue option.

There is also the chance clubs will use a 'hybrid' model where some games are played in their own stadiums, but matches considered high-risk are moved on police advice.

There will be conversations too around broadcasting issues, including the fixture list, the possibility of staggered kick-off times and over how certain matches of the 92 remaining could be made available free to air.

Players are expected to resume contact training as early as today after the clubs gave them the green light.

That followed positive feedback on the plans from players and managers at a meeting on Tuesday.

Testing will continue on a twice-weekly basis, with four individuals from three clubs found to be positive for coronavirus when the latest set of results were published yesterday.

In all, 1,008 individuals were tested.

Belfast Telegraph