Premier League's target restart date of June 12 may be pushed back

Premier League restart date of June 12 may be pushed BACK despite clubs unanimously agreeing to return to non-contact training from Tuesday, reveals Richard Masters

  • READ: Premier League clubs have voted to return to training TOMORROW 
  • Stars will only be allowed to work in groups of five with social distancing in place
  • But Richard Masters has admitted the league’s return date may be pushed back
  • On Sunday, Raheem Sterling said the restart date must be later than June 12

The June 12 date for the Premier League’s restart may be pushed back, the competition’s chief executive has said.

Speaking after clubs unanimously agreed a return to non-contact training from Tuesday, Richard Masters admitted that the intended date may well be delayed.

‘We have been focused on this staging post, it’s not a firm commitment, for June 12,’ he said. ‘So we haven’t changed the start date, we have to be flexible about it. What we don’t want to do is continually move that start date. So we haven’t changed it, we need to be flexible and acknowledge we are in a step by step process.’

 A date for the resumption of the Premier League still needs to be finalised amid the pandemic

Richard Masters admitted that the intended restart date of June 12 may well be delayed

Masters’ comments come after opposition to June 12. On Sunday, Manchester City star Raheem Sterling said players needed more time and Masters disclosed that further discussions over how long would be needed to build match fitness would take place.

‘Next week we are going to be discussing full contact training protocols for that,’ he said. ‘Once you know when you can start full contact training and we have had a proper discussion with clubs about how much is required to create the fitness levels before they can start playing we are then in a position to be able to confirm when the season start is.’

Masters added that initial discussions had been held over television scheduling. As Sportsmail has previously reported, there is a desire to broadcast every match live in a different timeslot amid a hunger from the nation to watch matches which would be played behind closed doors thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but the official was guarded. 

Raheem Sterling insisted the Premier League’s restart date needed to be later than June 12

‘For the remaining 92 games we were able to give clubs a very brief update on that (to clubs) and the discussions we are having with both the government and the broadcasters to try to come up with the right formula,’ he said. ‘Out of the respect to all of those broadcast partners I don’t think it is right to confirm any specific part of it.’

Concerns over player safety have been raised and Masters disclosed that further discussions would take place.

‘Today we haven’t talked to the players or even that clubs yet about return to contact training, in terms of the fine details of protocols,’ he said. ‘We’re anticipating we can do that in the next week to 10 days. 

‘Before any decisions are made exactly the same as this stage’s decision, we will have very similar meetings with players and managers to explain to them how contact training would work and so they can raise their concerns and questions and we can answer any medical concerns they might have. It’s exactly the same process repeated we have done for this stage of the protocols, we’ll repeat that for stage two.’

Games will be played behind closed doors when the Premier League eventually returns

On the same conference call, Premier League medical adviser Mark Gillett said players may well have to isolate in hotels before matches, as has been the case in Germany.

‘The advice we are getting from government is that if you are going to isolate you have to do it for 14 days,’ he said. ‘So you will need to be in a hotel environment for 14 days to make it truly effective. 

‘Now that is something we are going to need to think about and consult widely with players, managers, clubs, LMA, PFA – all the stakeholders as we move through into that phase. It’s certainly something that will be discussed. And ultimately when we get into phase three in particular we will make a decision on that and it will be one that everyone is happy.’

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