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11 May, 2020 15:09

Back in June? English Premier League could potentially return as soon as JUNE 1 as UK government gives green light

Back in June? English Premier League could potentially return as soon as JUNE 1 as UK government gives green light

The biggest domestic football league in the world, the English Premier League, has been given the green light to return by the UK government with matches played behind closed doors.

The Premier League has been in lengthy discussions and debates with its member clubs over "Project Restart" which will form the basis for how the league returns to action. But those discussions and plans were all subject to the government giving the thumbs-up to actually get back on the field and play matches again.

"Step 2" of the government's guidelines includes "Permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact."

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It means that, if the numbers of new infections continues to trend downward, the league could restart as early as June 1. And with that possibility now on the table, talks between the Premier League and its member clubs are set to intensify as the plans get set to move from the discussion stage to the implementation stage.

The proposal that the league uses neutral venues to fulfill its remaining fixtures has not gone down well with a number of clubs, including Aston Villa, Watford and Brighton & Hove Albion, who have complained that a lack of home advantage in key games will affect the integrity of the league.

Teams at the bottom end of the league are also keen to have relegation removed from the season as a contingency if the full set of fixtures cannot be completed.

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The green light for the Premier League to return is subject to the continued reduction in the number of new coronavirus cases in the UK, with the government believing the nation has now passed the peak of the virus.

Those numbers would have to drop even more significantly before fans would be allowed back into the stadiums, with the season likely to be completed without the fans in the stands.

While the Premier League season may be able to return, other key football competitions involving England's big clubs, including the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, will prove to be problematic with the UK's 14-day quarantine measures for arrivals into the country likely to scupper their involvement under the current restrictions.

Also on rt.com 'Project Restart': Premier League set for JUNE RETURN if UK government approves ambitious plans