The Premier League looks set to restart on 17 June.
Subject to government approval, two fixtures will be played on the day, with a further full round of fixtures to be played on the weekend of 19-21 June. All matches for the remainder of the season will be played behind closed doors, with no fans in attendance.
The Premier League has been trying to resume its season since it was abandoned on 3 April due to the coronavirus pandemic. Project Restart is the ongoing attempt by clubs and stakeholders to resume the 2019/20 season.
Last week, players and staff returned to training grounds as phase one of Project Restart got underway. This allowed for training in small groups - with social distancing implemented and no tackling - while players are also tested twice-weekly.
After the Premier League’s most recent meeting on Thursday, phase two can now get underway. It means that:
● Groups of up to 10 players and three staff can train together.
● There are no time restrictions to the total length of the training session.
● Groups can do some close-contact training but not full contact and this must be time limited.
Phase three (estimated to begin on 8 June) involves full contact training.
There are 92 fixtures remaining and the plan is to complete all of them by the 25 July. Football bosses have expressed a desire to let fans watch as many games as possible, so a busy fixture schedule has been released, with no games being played at the same time.
Who’s playing first?
Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal will be the first fixtures played on 17 June. All four teams had played one less game than the rest of the league when it was stopped.
When are fixtures being played?
Meeting the target end date will require six weekend and three midweek rounds of fixtures. With no overlapping of games, fixtures will be staggered. Kick-off times for each day will be the following (BST):
Saturday: 12:30, 15:00, 17:30 and 20:00
Sunday: 12:00, 14:00, 16:30 and 19:00
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 18:00 and 20:00
These slots have been allocated, but will not all necessarily be filled, and there will probably be days without games.
Where can you watch the games?
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All matches will be shown live and shared across Sky Sports (64 games in total), BT Sport (20), Amazon Prime (four), and BBC Sport (four). Sky Sports will make 25 of their games available free to air. There has been no confirmation on which games will be shown by which broadcasters yet.
Free to air Premier League
As well as the 25 games that Sky will make free to the general public, the BBC will air four live games of its own. It will be the first time since the Premier League began in 1992 that the BBC has done so.
What would it cost to watch every game?
It can be done for £117.98, or £1.28 per game. At £33.99 per month, two month’s worth of NOW TV’s Sky Sports monthly pass will set you back £67.98.
For £25 a month you can sign up to BT Sport’s unlimited access online package across June and July. If Amazon’s four games are within a month you can sign up to an Amazon Prime free 30-day trial, otherwise it will cost £7.99 per month.
With concern over fans gathering outside stadiums for high-profile fixtures (derbies, for example), some games are set to be played at neutral venues at the police’s request. This includes Liverpool fixtures, with the team needing just two wins to win the league.
What happens next?
Everything is subject to general lockdown restrictions and government policy, so could potentially change. Players and staff will continue to be tested and the Premier League is set to meet again on 6 June.
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