Premier League football could reportedly return to our TV screens ‘within weeks’ with the British government seeing the resumption of live sport as key to boosting morale.
Football’s universal suspension as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has meant it’s been almost two months since a ball was last kicked in the English top flight, and fears of a null and void campaign were heightened after the Dutch FA cancelled the Eredivisie on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the Bundesliga is set for a May return while the government are determined to see a return to live sporting action in the UK soon, providing, of course, they meet its five restart tests – including cutting death and infection rates.
A report in The Sun claims football could be back in the coming weeks, with a Whitehall source quoted as saying: “We want live sport back on TV as soon as we can. It would give the whole country a huge lift.
“We have much still to do in the fight against the spread of this virus and it is too early to consider fans going back to the grounds themselves but this is a way to at least get sport going again.”
Regular testing for players and staff would have to be put in place when Premier League football does return, while clubs would also have to ensure they have measures in place to deal with certain fan behaviour, such as the risk of impromptu gatherings outside grounds – as seen outside the Parc des Princes following Paris Saint-Germain’s victory over Borussia Dortmund back in March.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has also encouraged the Premier League to consider streaming matches on terrestrial channels – BBC One, BBC Two, etc – in a bid to prevent people congregating at other people’s homes if the games were only available on Sky or BT Sports.
The government’s next review of the UK lockdown is due on 7 May, and if the green light is given for sport to resume behind closed doors it would take at least two weeks of training for Premier League players to be match-fit – meaning we could see a return before the start of June.
The EFL, meanwhile, would likely start later than the top flight due to the logistical and financial challenges posed.