The Premier League is less than a week away from returning, and just about a week away from the first full round of matches in three months. But these matches, as well as all the matches of Project Restart will be played behind closed doors, just as all matches in other European leagues that have restarted recently.
While the players and the limited number of staff and personnel that will be present for the matches are getting regularly tested for COVID-19 (and quarantined in the rare case of a positive test), the same cannot be said for the general populace. Meanwhile, a vaccine is still a year away.
But the world around is slowly starting to reopen. And while that will undoubtedly cause an increase in transmissions and the number of cases, for now, the authorities seem fine with that eventuality (and the healthcare system have been beefed up enough, presumably, to handle them as well).
With the Premier League approving stage three protocols this week ahead of the restart, attentions are starting to turn to the next step: fans in stadiums.
According to the Mirror, the league has started “official discussions” with the UK government regarding fans coming back, and the conditions that would allow that to happen — even if to just a relatively small extent, like a quarter full or less. Social distancing will be a worldwide theme for the foreseeable future.
These plans are not realistic at the moment, but come September and next season, perhaps conditions will have improved enough to allow that to happen. The report claims that The FA are hoping to have “some sort of crowd” for the FA Cup final, even, which is currently set for August 1.
First things first, let’s see how the Restart goes.