1 May 2020

No PL Return Decision; Clubs Still Keen To Finish Season  (Sky Sports)

The Premier League Premier League clubs made no firm decisions on restarting the season at a meeting on Friday, but remain committed to doing so when government advice allows.

'Project Restart' was top of the agenda in the latest League conference call on Friday, which all 20 clubs attended, and it spelled out issues like the resumption of behind-closed-doors matches in 'approved' stadiums or neutral venues, how players can return to full training, and what will need to happen inside each training ground in order for top-flight football to return.

A statement from the League read: "At a meeting of Premier League Shareholders today, clubs discussed possible steps towards planning to resume the 2019/20 season, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

"It was reiterated that the thoughts of all are with those directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Premier League's priority is the health and safety of players, coaches, managers, club staff, supporters and the wider community.

"The League and clubs are considering the first tentative moves forward and will only return to training and playing with Government guidance, under expert medical advice and after consultation with players and managers.

"The League welcomed the creation of the Government medical working group for a return of elite sport, which met for the first time this morning.

"No decisions were taken at today's Shareholders' meeting and clubs exchanged views on the information provided regarding Project Restart. It was agreed that the PFA, LMA, players and managers are key to this process and will be further consulted.

"The clubs reconfirmed their commitment to finishing the 2019/20 season, maintaining integrity of the competition and welcomed the Government's support."

Proposals in the 'Project Restart' document have been drafted by Premier League director of football Richard Garlick but a return to training will only happen with the agreement of the government.

Plans also include testing all players and officials 48 hours before returning to training and they will also be tested for potential respiratory problems associated with coronavirus.

Rules such as banning spitting at training grounds and wearing mouth-protective clothing like snood/masks at all times are also being considered.

Medical representatives from a range of different UK sports have met with the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) on Friday as the government ramps up plans for a return to sport.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the Primeira Liga in Portugal is set to return on May 30 following a government announcement on Thursday.

Paris Saint-Germain have been awarded the Ligue 1 title after the football season was ended in France due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bundesliga will need to wait for an announcement from Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 6 to find out if it can restart its 2019-20 campaign.

Serie A has reiterated that its 20 clubs have a "unanimous will to finish the season", with sides set to return to training on May 18.

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