Premier League restarts June 17 … all 92 remaining matches to broadcast live

Premier League clubs have agreed to restart the 2019/20 season on June 17, provided that all safety requirements are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal – both rearranged games — will take place on that date, the English top-flight said in a statement.

After those matches, all 20 clubs would have played 29 matches heading into the weekend of 19-21 June, when the rest of the top flight is scheduled to be in action.

The last Premier League match before the shutdown was Leicester versus Aston Villa on 9 March, with all English professional football suspended four days later.

Premier League shareholders on Thursday also approved a proposal that would see all 92 remaining matches broadcast live in Britain, including some games on the BBC.

Planned kick-off times would also differ from the traditional times.

“Today, we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters on Thursday.

“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.

“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.”

England captain Harry Kane, who plays for Tottenham, tweeted: “Football is back soon.”

The restart date is conditional on top-level sport being given the green light to return by the British government.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden tweeted his support for today’s Premier League announcement.

“We are still working on govt guidance before we green light sports’ return,” he said.

The Premier League suspended all fixtures in March after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for Covid-19.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool appear certain to be crowned champions but issues of relegation and European qualification still need to be resolved.

“WE. GO. AGAIN,” tweeted Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

“We’ll miss having you with us at the stadiums, but we’ll do everything we can to make you proud.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker, now the presenter of the BBC’s flagship Match of the Day football programme, said: “It’s coming back, it’s coming back, it’s coming, football’s coming back!”

Meanwhile, The Times reported some “high risk” matches, such as a home fixture for Liverpool at Anfield that could see them clinch the title, may be moved to neutral venues to stop fans congregating outside grounds in defiance of social-distancing rules.

Top-flight clubs had voted unanimously on Wednesday to return to contact training.

So far, just 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the Premier League.

Germany’s Bundesliga resumed earlier this month and La Liga in Spain hopes to return from June 11, while Italy’s Serie A will be back on June 20.

Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top of the table while Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich City are in the relegation places.

The leaders could clinch the title with victory in their first game back should second-placed Manchester City lose to Arsenal. – AFP

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