Premier League clubs agreed in unison after a three and a half-hour video conference on Friday saying they remained determined to find a way to complete the 2019-20 season in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The clubs have been told to complete the remaining 92 matches of the current season at neutral venues without fans now a prerequisite. Also Read - Coronavirus Cases in India Cross 1.9 Lakh-mark; Delhi Seals Border With UP, Haryana For 1 Week | Key Developments
Dubbed as ‘Project Restart’, the league’s plan to finish the season was well received but it is understood there was still opposition to the idea of not playing the remaining 92 matches of the 2019-20 season on a home-and-away basis. Premier League is scheduled to restart June 8 as long as they are given the green light by the UK government. Also Read - Imran Khan Says it Was 'Mistake' to Enforce Strict Lockdown Even as COVID-19 Cases Cross 72,000-mark
The English top-flight league faces an estimated loss of around 1.25 billion if no more football is played due to the global pandemic. Also Read - Coronavirus in Maharashtra: 2361 Cases, 76 Deaths in 24 Hours; Total Tally Crosses 70,000-mark
Playing the 92 remaining games behind closed doors would mitigate that loss, avoiding the need to repay hundreds of millions to broadcasters.
But the Premier League faces huge logistical difficulties in its attempts to return to action, with Britain one of the countries worst-hit by COVID-19. The league and clubs discussed possible steps towards resuming the season at a meeting on Friday.
“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 Premier League said in a statement.
“The clubs reconfirmed their commitment to finishing the 2019/20 season, maintaining the integrity of the competition and welcomed the government’s support.”
The British government is due to review a nationwide lockdown on May 7 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised on Thursday to provide a ‘roadmap’ towards easing restrictions.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are on the brink of their first league title for 30 years with a 25-point lead at the top of the table.
However, the Premier League is keen to avoid potential legal challenges over the awarding of much more tightly contested European places, relegation and promotion if the season cannot be completed.