English Premiership

Premier League targets May return date - report

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

Premier League chiefs are considering resuming the 2019/20 campaign in early May in order to avoid paying up to £762 million in refunds to sports broadcasters.

There was talk on Monday of playing the games through June and July and keeping footballers and staff in 'isolation camps', but these new reports in the Daily Mail suggest there is an appetite for an even earlier start despite the country being in lockdown.

The Government, public health bodies and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) would have to agree to the ambitious plans, which would give footballers almost no time to regain match fitness; no club is currently training.

According to this latest report: "A restart in May is seen as vital as that is when the clubs are due to receive their final tranche of television money for the season, without which many will struggle to pay the players' wages."

There are discussions about possible rule changes, including the waiving of regulations about fielding weakened teams as key players could be ruled out by coronavirus.

There could also be an argument for temporarily increasing squad sizes so recalled loan players could also feature.

If the government do give this scheme the go-ahead, matches would be staged with a skeleton broadcasting crew, minimal security and no crowd or media.

It would be a game of football to fulfill fixtures and avoid clubs getting into financial difficulties.

- TEAMtalk media

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