Premier League hopeful of June 8 restart as training centres reopen
Premier League clubs will meet on Friday to discuss plans to resume the 2019-20 campaign in June.
The English top-flight, which has been suspended since mid-March because of the spread of the coronavirus, could be back in action as early as June 8 to have the season concluded by the end of July.
Only on Friday will top-flight clubs be presented by the league with a protocol to enable a full return to training. After a weekend of headlines trumpeting the return of top-flight football, with a three-week pre-season beginning in May and matches behind closed doors from 9 June, the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, told parliament on Monday that he backed a quick return but with a significant coda.
The timeline being proposed would mean clubs would have to be back in full training by May 18 and some top-flight teams are already easing their way back.
On Monday (April 27), Arsenal, Everton and West Ham allowed players to return to their training grounds, but warned that they must continue to abide by social distancing guidelines.
Tottenham are set to reopen parts of their training ground for the senior squad as of Tuesday.
The English Football League (EFL) has pledged to have rigorous coronavirus testing in place before games can be played again and insisted the return must not affect key workers.
The Bundesliga is aiming to kick off again on May 9 pending government approval, but the German police union has warned that even matches behind closed doors would attract “irresponsible” crowds outside stadiums.
The Polish government has approved a five-step plan to bring the Ekstraklasa back by May 29, while in Italy, players will be allowed to start training individually from May 4.
FIFA is willing to allow teams to make five substitutes in each match in an effort to minimise risk of injury as the season will have to be concluded in a tight schedule.