Less than two weeks ago, Germany’s Bundesliga started to get back into action, much to the delight of soccer fans around the world, and now it looks like the Premier League is going to restart as well. The coronavirus put the sports world on its knees but, like a prize fighter, it wasn’t ready to be dealt a knock-out. Things are beginning to turn around and professional sports leagues everywhere are starting to crank things back up.
While there is still some doubt about leagues like MLB and the NBA, elsewhere, sports fans are finding more options becoming available. The latest to resurface is the Premier League, which announced today that it will restart and get back on the field in the middle of next month.
Premier League Project Restart’s A Go
The Premier League’s Project Restart, as it was dubbed, has been approved by the organization’s teams after shareholders signed off on the plan in a meeting today. Beginning June 17, soccer fans will find more action, led by Manchester City against Arsenal and Aston Villa against Sheffield United. Overall, four teams and ten games remaining in the regular season.
Two days after those games are held, the league will get going on the remaining 90 games. Soccer fans will be happy to know that every one of the games is going to be broadcast live on TV, with no two games being held simultaneously. That should help overcome the withdrawal symptoms felt by fans over the past two months.
According to Richard Masters, the CEO of the Premier League, “Today we have provisionally agreed to restart the Premier League on Wednesday, 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.
“Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home. We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season.”
Mark Your Calendars
Since all of the Premier League games are going to be televised, it’s only natural that different broadcasters cover the matches when they restart. Sky Sports is going to carry a total of 64 games, of which 25 will be available on free channels. The BBC will be included, as well, airing four games.
Friday games will get underway at 8 PM and on Saturday, which won’t see an afternoon blackout for the first time in a long time, games will begin at 12:30 PM, 3 PM, 5:30 PM and 8 PM. Sunday matches will kick off at 12 PM, 2 PM, 4:30 PM and 7 PM, and Monday games will start at 8 PM. Midweek games are expected to get going at either 6 PM or 8 PM.
Tackling The Rest Of The Soccer Action
If everything goes as planned with the restart of the Premier League, the season will be able to wrap up no later than August 1. About a week later, the FA Cup Final will be held, followed by the Champions League and the Europe League games later in the month. The next couple of months are going to be full of action for fans.
There is a caveat, though. As Masters alluded to, health procedures have to be followed for any games to be played. There is also the possibility that changes to the schedule will need to be made, based on any reappearance of COVID-19 or any indication that players’ and team personnel’s health could be negatively impacted. However, just the mention of a solid plan being put into place is a good sign that things are finally (albeit slowly) returning to normal.