Premier League’s extra time plan to ensure season finish ahead of training vote
Premier League bosses are preparing to insert a series of “buffers” to ensure the season gets completed.
The 20 clubs will take the first major steps this week on Project Restart by voting for a return to training with the hope of the first games by June 19.
However, they are already bracing themselves for potential delays and problems along the way with enough time set aside in the timetable that they can overcome setbacks.
The hope is they can finish the Premier League by August to fall into line with UEFA’s masterplan to complete domestic seasons in time for the Champions League final to be played on August 29.
That has become the focal point as the end of the 2019-20 season.
Clubs could then get as little as THREE WEEKS before the 2020-21 season starts as the plan is to press on into next season to try and save the football calendar from falling too far behind.
There is already an issue with the restart date as that is set to be pushed back from the original target of June 12 to June 19 on the back of the talks with club captains and Professional Footballers’ Association and the Premier League last week.
Premier League bosses also feel that if clubs go back to training this week, it does not give them enough time.
Many believe they need a full pre-season, especially if the first tentative steps back are under strict protocols.
The first training guidelines mean players work on their own, they turn up in their cars already changed into their kit – training ground buildings are shut – and have as little as 75 minutes so it will take longer to get back into proper shape and be match fit.
The training guidelines quickly step up but managers and players both want the extra week while the “buffers” are inserted in case of positive tests or something going wrong.
If a Premier League player does test positive, then he will be taken out and will not return until providing two negative tests but it will be treated on an individual basis like one of them getting the flu or an injury rather than shutting clubs down.
Clubs are braced for their remaining 92 fixtures – most clubs have nine games left with four teams having ten – being played out in six weeks with all the games being shown on TV.
Of the remaining games, 47 have already been allocated for TV, another 32 will be shared between Sky and BT Sport with the rest shared between Amazon and BBC.
That means there could be five games free-to-air on the BBC when the Premier League does come back.
There are plans for back-to-back games, clubs now believe the mood is that they will be able to play in their own stadiums which is also crucial from a sponsorship perspective.
That is a big sticking point for clubs who are already braced for having to pay back £340m in TV cash and also foot the bill of up to £750,000 each on stewards to ensure fans do not turn up despite games being behind closed doors.
But they are desperate to play in their own stadiums otherwise club sponsors will want a substantial refund from their own deals because of a lack of exposure and decrease in advertising.
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