A 50-page report published by the government on Monday confirmed that no professional sport can take place in England until June 1st at the earliest.
The document states that step two of its plan to ease lockdown measures will not being until the start of June at the earliest and includes “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact.”
While negative on the face of it this does leave the door open for the Premier League to return behind closed doors next month, and the Premier League clubs are meeting today to continue their discussions over the details of Project Restart.
The league, along with most others around the world, has been suspended since March 13th but the coming week will give us a good idea about how far along on the path to resumption we are.
Critical week for Project Restart
This week is rapidly turning into one of the most decisive weeks in the quest for a return to sporting action.
Premier League club officials are set to meet today after the government report, and the government is expected to announce that athletes can return to a restricted level of training this week. So far footballers have been limited to individual training, but this could see restricted groups being allowed back into team training.
Not only that but, with the Bundesliga set to return to action this weekend, the world will finally get a look at how this new approach to high-level sport will work.
Don’t forget to follow all our Bundesliga updates on our Bundesliga predictions page.
Significant hurdles remain
There are still holes in the plan, though. Shadow sports minister Alison McGovern wrote to Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston on Monday asking questions about Project Restart, with the main topic of focus being a request for transparency around its plans to keep both players and non-playing staff safe.
But it’s not just exterior forces dictating how Project Restart will pan out. One of the key sticking points among the Premier League clubs themselves has been a decision on whether to use neutral venues for the remaining matches. The fact that a vote on this is not planned for Monday’s meeting suggests that there are still a significant number of clubs opposed to neutral venues.
Despite all this, the government places heavy emphasis on the morale boost a return of the Premier League would give to the nation. Proposals for the remaining Premier League games to be live on TV have been supported and Premier League officials believe there is little interest in scrapping the season entirely.
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