English Premiership

Premier League to return only when safe to do so

Premier League branded microphones (PA Images)
Premier League branded microphones (PA Images)

The Premier League has revealed that the 2019/20 season "will not resume in May" while a return date is "under constant review".

Following a meeting last week Friday, the Premier League shareholders and clubs discussed in detail how to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen the majority of global sport suspended.

"It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May – and that the 2019/20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so," the statement read.

"The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic develops and we work together through this very challenging time.

"The Premier League is working closely with the whole of professional football in this country, as well as with the Government, public agencies and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the game achieves a collaborative solution. 

"With this, there is a combined objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played, enabling us to maintain the integrity of each competition.

"However, any return to play will only be with the full support of the Government and when medical guidance allows.

"The sporting and financial implications for Premier League clubs as well as for The FA, EFL and National League were considered at today’s meeting."

The Premier League and English Football League (EFL) remain committed to completing the 2019/20 season, with UEFA having warned that clubs in competitions which it deems have been cancelled prematurely may not be eligible to play in next season's Champions League or Europa League.

Premier League teams are also conscious of the financial impact that the failure to complete the season would have.

It has been reported that clubs stand to lose around £750 million if no further matches are played.

"Discussions also took place regarding financial relief for clubs in the short term and while there is no single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately deal with the impact of falling cash flow.

"Critically, the League unanimously voted to advance funds of £125 million to the EFL and National League as it is aware of the severe difficulties clubs throughout the football pyramid are suffering at this time."

It was reported last week that a World Cup-style camp is one solution being considered by Premier League clubs as a means to complete the current campaign.

Clubs could gather in a neutral location to play out the remainder of the season behind closed doors, with only those personnel essential to staging and broadcasting the games allowed to attend to minimise the chance of coronavirus infections.

However, the Premier League has distanced themselves from that rumour and released a statement prioritizing the safety of the community and will only restart the campaign once it is safe to do so.

Meanwhile, players will also be consulted in order to take a 30% pay cut due to current circumstances.

"In the face of substantial and continuing losses for the 2019/20 season since the suspension of matches began, and to protect employment throughout the professional game, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30% of total annual remuneration," the Premier League said.

"This guidance will be kept under constant review as circumstances change.

"The League will be in regular contact with the PFA, and the union and the LMA will join a meeting which will be held tomorrow between the League, players and club representatives."

- TEAMtalk media

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