In this Sunday, May 12, 2019 file photo, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola lifts the English Premier League trophy after the English Premier League soccer match between Brighton and Manchester City at the AMEX Stadium in Brighton, England.
In this Sunday, May 12, 2019 file photo, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola lifts the English Premier League trophy after the English Premier League soccer match between Brighton and Manchester City at the AMEX Stadium in Brighton, England. |Associated Press | Associated Press
Soccer

English Premier League on track to return in early June after clubs confirm desire to finish season

The Premier League shareholders met Friday to figure out the next step in resuming play for the 2019-2020 campaign

Sean Miller

Sean Miller

It has been great to be able to watch football around the world, in such places as Belarus, Burundi, Nicaragua, Taiwan, and Turkmenistan, while the COVID-19 virus has shut down most of the other leagues.

But most everyone is waiting for the return of the top five leagues. While Ligue 1 in France shut down for the season, awarding PSG the title, the Bundesliga (Germany), La Liga (Spain), and Serie A (Italy) are all planning on returning sometime soon.

Now, the biggest league in the world has its sights set on a June return.

The Premier League shareholders met Friday to figure out the next step in resuming play for the 2019-2020 campaign, and all were committed to finishing the season. Most of the teams (16) have nine matches left, while four have 10. The title is all but assured to be Liverpool’s, which would be the club’s first Premier League crown.

The Premier League released this statement Friday after its weekly meeting:

At a meeting of Premier League Shareholders today, clubs discussed possible steps towards planning to resume the 2019/20 season, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

It was reiterated that the thoughts of all are with those directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, the Premier League’s priority is the health and safety of players, coaches, managers, club staff, supporters and the wider community.

The League and clubs are considering the first tentative moves forward and will only return to training and playing with Government guidance, under expert medical advice and after consultation with players and managers.

The League welcomed the creation of the Government medical working group for a return of elite sport, which met for the first time this morning.

No decisions were taken at today’s Shareholders’ meeting and clubs exchanged views on the information provided regarding "Project Restart".

It was agreed that the PFA, LMA, players and managers are key to this process and will be further consulted.

The clubs reconfirmed their commitment to finishing the 2019/20 season, maintaining integrity of the competition and welcomed the Government’s support.

Teams are expected to be back in training sometime in the next few weeks, with a period of ramping up before the league gets back underway in stadiums without fans.

It may be a long time before fans are allowed back into the stadiums to watch. This tweet from Anfield Watch says it might be up to 24 months before fans are allowed back in to watch the matches live.

But whether or not there are fans, there will certainly be Premier League matches, and it looks likely to be sooner than later.

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