While there were no official decisions made or any actual guidance issued from Friday’s meeting among Premier League teams and stakeholders, the latest in a series of videoconferences to try to figure how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the league reportedly continues to work towards an early June reopening.
This is very much in line with the “tentative” green light form the previous week — provided conditions improve enough — but now with an exact date: June 8. Friday’s meeting did reaffirm the teams’ and league’s desire to finish out the season, even if it stretches past June 30 (which obviously would raise a whole host of new legal and contractual issues). This is contrary to some rumors earlier this week of teams pushing for that date to a be a hard deadline.
As before, an early June start would mean that teams would need to return to some form of training in about a month, in mid-May, which would give the players a few weeks to get back up to speed. Many are rightly concerned that playing so many games in such a short time — it would take about 4-6 weeks to play the remaining 9-10 games (not including FA Cup or Europe) in an isolated tournament setting — but surely most players would prefer to be playing rather than sitting at home doing nothing. And, for many, games every 3-4 days is already quite normal.
While nothing will happen until governmental approval, even after, games will be held behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, with all involved (players, coaches, officials, staff) tested for COVID-19 (assuming testing kits are in abundant supply).
The next Premier League crisis meeting is set for May 1.