Italian Serie A and English Premier League set to Resume in Two Weeks

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SportPesa, English Premier League

Premier League football is poised to return after a three-month shutdown, with top-flight games in England provisionally set to resume on Wednesday, June 17.

With 92 Premier League matches of the current season remaining, Sky Sports subscribers will be able to watch 39 exclusive live games with a further 25 available more widely via Sky’s free-to-air ‘Pick’ Channel and simulcast on Sky Sports, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.

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Aston Villa vs Sheffield United and Manchester City vs Arsenal are scheduled to be the first two games when the Premier League resumes next month, with a full round of matches taking place for the first time since the restart on June 19-21.

Premier League return – key points

  • Provisional restart date of June 17 agreed, subject to safety requirements
  • Aston Villa vs Sheff Utd, Man City vs Arsenal scheduled for June 17
  • Full match round to start June 19
  • All 92 games broadcast live in UK – 64 live on Sky Sports
  • All games behind closed doors
  • Venues still to be confirmed
  • New staggered KO times

The fixtures set to take place on June 17 were originally postponed due to the EFL Cup Final and the rearranged Manchester City vs Arsenal game was due to be broadcast live on Sky Sports before the pandemic struck. Every club will have played 29 Premier League games after those midweek matches.

This season’s remaining games are set to be played on any seven days in a week, with fans set to enjoy up to four live matches on Saturdays and Sundays.

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A total of 64 live games will be on Sky Sports from the provisional restart date of June 17, with 25 of those games being made available free to air including the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool.

To celebrate the return of the Premier League, Sky Sports will also launch a host of innovative new features and updates to give fans an even more immersive experience and share the moments live with family and friends on virtual platforms.

When will the games be staged?

New staggered kick-off times will be used for the remaining 92 matches.

Games on a Friday will kick off at 8pm, while on Saturday the slots will be 12.30pm, 3pm, 5.30pm and 8pm. Sunday matches will kick off at either 12pm, 2pm, 4.30pm and 7pm, with Monday games starting at 8pm.

Midweek games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays will kick off at either 6pm or 8pm.

The plan for football to resume behind closed doors awaits the green light from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and government.

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MR understands that stage three – the return to play aspect – of the DCMS’ guidance on the return of elite sport is still being finalised.

COVID-19 impact on football

March 5 – Pre-match handshakes banned in the Premier League.
March 11 – Man City v Arsenal is first Premier League game suspended; Liverpool v Atletico Madrid the last top level game played in England.
March 12 – Man Utd, Wolves play away Europa League ties behind closed doors, Rangers host Bayer Leverkusen in front of fans.
March 13 – Football suspended following an emergency meeting between PL, FA, EFL and WSL
April 15 – SPFL clubs approve plan to end the Scottish Championship, League One and league Two seasons.
May 15 – League Two clubs vote to end the season with immediate effect.
May 17 – Premier League players and staff tested for COVID-19.
May 18 – Scottish Premiership curtailed, with points per game determining league positions and Celtic named champions.
May 19 – Premier League clubs return to socially distanced group training.
May 25 – Women’s Super League cancelled, with title and relegation to be determined.
May 27 – Premier League clubs vote to resume contact training.

Football in England has been suspended since March 13 following an emergency meeting between the Premier League, Football Association, the English Football League and the Women’s Super League. The last Premier League match before the shutdown was Leicester vs Aston Villa on March 9.

Thursday’s conference call was the second meeting of Premier League clubs in the last two days after they unanimously agreed to resume contact training.

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There have been 12 positive results across the first three rounds of coronavirus testing at Premier League clubs. Four positive tests were announced on Wednesday evening.

Full Premier League statement

A statement read: “Premier League Shareholders today agreed to a new provisional restart date for the 2019/20 season of Wednesday 17 June, provided that all safety requirements are in place.

“Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal – postponed due to the Carabao Cup Final – will now take place on 17 June, followed by a full match round beginning on Friday 19 June. Due to COVID-19, games will take place behind closed doors.

“Premier League Shareholders also approved a proposal that would see all 92 remaining matches broadcast live in the UK by the League’s existing broadcast partners: Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime.

“The planned kick-off times in the UK for live matches will also differ from the traditional times.”

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters added: “Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

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”Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.

“The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.

“We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019/20 season.”

Analysis: ‘Testing has provided a degree of confidence’

Sky Sports News Chief Reporter Bryan Swanson says the Premier League have been given ‘cautious optimism’ after four positive coronavirus tests were announced from the third round of testing

‘As soon as a return to contact training had been approved unanimously by clubs, the next step was for a resumption of matches.

‘There has been a shift in perception in the couple of weeks that has been helped by the testing. The Premier League clubs have taken part in three rounds of testing and there have been 12 positives cases, but 99.5 per cent of those testing have returned negative results.

‘Every positive result will have to have been taken seriously, but the relatively low figures will have given a degree of confidence for those players and managers that they are returning to as safe an environment as possible.

‘A lot can happen in the next three weeks but what clubs now have is that definitive line in the sand, they know what they are aiming for in terms of Project Restart. In the case of four of those clubs, they are playing on June 17, with the rest taking part over the weekend of June 19, 20 and 21.

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‘The expectation from the Premier League is that the remaining 92 fixtures will be completed in a six-week timeframe. A lot of other items remain under discussion, notably where all the fixtures will be played.

‘The Premier League are also discussing a Plan B – what happens if there is a second peak of the virus and those fixtures cannot be fulfilled at some point throughout June and July? But clubs have that June 17 target to focus on and that is what they will chase.’

Analysis: Neutral venues still on the table?

‘We still await confirmation on stadia and venues. This goes back to the authorities and police to see whether the clubs will get their way to play matches at home.

‘There is perhaps a suspicion that some of the big remaining games, the more high-profile games, may be at neutral venues.

‘It has always been the Premier League’s intention to finish the remaining 92 games, and they have the broad agreement to do that, albeit in the restrictions of a behind-closed-doors environment.

‘Where the question goes now is the stadiums that can and can’t be used. Neutral venues were the key plan going forward, but clubs have been reassuring the authorities that fans will not be gathering outside their stadiums as had been feared.

‘What will happen to specific clubs is a question that still needs to be answered.’

Home advantage wiped out?

While venues are still to be confirmed, there appears to be a trend in the Bundesliga when it comes to ‘home games’. There have been only five home wins in 27 Bundesliga games played behind closed doors – suggesting home advantage is wiped out without fans.

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That ratio represents a 25 per cent slump for success on home soil since the league restarted and underlines how fans in the stands are the key component to home advantage.

The fixtures left to play

The full fixture schedule, including dates and kick-off times, is still to be confirmed but there are plenty of big derbies and crunch clashes at top and bottom still in store.

Liverpool, so close to the title, have Manchester City to play again, as well as Merseyside rivals Everton, while a north London showdown between Arsenal and Tottenham is on the agenda.

The race for European qualification is on, with Manchester United just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and Wolves and Sheffield United in the chasing pack.

And while Norwich are adrift at the bottom, only four points separate 15th-placed Brighton and 19th-placed Aston Villa.

It’s all to play for.

Where could Premier League teams finish?

How high or low could your club finish in the league this season? With 92 games left to play, we reveal the best and worst scenario for every club.

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Data guru at Sahihi Bet has simulated every possible result from the remaining 92 games and calculated each club’s range of possible final league positions – in addition to probabilities for each standing.

The results reveal it’s all to play for in the race for Champions League qualification and the battle for top-flight survival.

How good or bad is your team’s run-in?

Even if the restart does wipe out home advantage, the form of the 20 teams across the season to date still stands – with some facing sides with a far higher, or lower, average position than others.

For teams such as Newcastle in 13th, they may be looking on eagerly with five of the bottom six left to play. Less so perhaps for Crystal Palace, in 11th, who have every top-six side left to face, except Manchester City.

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The title may be all but decided – so we’ll leave that out of the equation – but the race for the Champions League still looks like it would have plenty of twists and turns. So what do the run-ins say about the chances of the runners and riders?

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