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Project Restart unknowns could force further Premier League delays — report

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The wait keeps getting longer

The Premier League Match Ball Photo by Visionhaus

The Bundesliga has already come back to life this weekend, but the Premier League’s restart is still more than a month away.

Unfortunately, according to the Mirror, even that could be pushed back — and that’s on top of the expected one-week delay from the initial June 12 estimate due to concerns about getting players back into (some level of) match fitness.

While there are no specific issues at the moment that would force a delay beyond June 19, there are a significant number of unknowns that could affect Project Restart’s rather hopeful assumptions.

Chief among those are potential complications regarding players’ health not only in terms of fitness or injuries, but in terms of new coronavirus infections. The Premier League, like the Bundesliga, isn’t planning on quarantining entire teams in the case of a positive test, just the affected individual, treating it like teams would treat other infectious diseases, such as the normal flu.

But teams apparently will want “buffers” inserted into the proposed schedule just in case a bigger infection breaks out, or if anything else goes wrong.

While all that sounds reasonable, the Premier League cannot afford for the restart to be delayed much further than it already has been, as UEFA want all leagues to be wrapped up by early August, the Champions League finished by late August, and new seasons beginning in early autumn.

Considering how most teams have 9 games remaining, with four teams having 10 (namely Manchester City, Sheffield United, Arsenal and Aston Villa), any further delays would likely lead to the curtailing of the season and not all games getting played — which could then lead to further complications from broadcast partners, sponsors, and all the players with temporary contract extensions.