The Premier League looks set to return in June after the United Kingdom's government gave the green light on Monday. Play could start June 1 in empty stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic's still consistent threat. U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson announced Monday that the government had a strategy as part of "Project Restart" to begin opening up the country, and that included "permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact," according to ESPN.
Premier League clubs met on Monday to discuss their restart plans and other issues like player contracts, and the league says the clubs are on board with resuming play.
"Following today's meeting of Shareholders, Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters has said the 20 clubs are united in their desire to get the 2019-20 season back up and running and that players and managers will have an important role in that return," The Premier League said in a statement.
"In today's meeting, it was reiterated the Premier League and clubs absolutely recognize the COVID-19 pandemic puts football into context," Masters said. "So many lives have been lost and so many others deeply affected. During today's meeting the UK Government signaled the possibility of a return of live sports from June 1, following on from its announcement on the easing of the lockdown in England."
No specific date has been set by the league while the third and fourth divisions will reportedly. Premier League club Brighton announced this weekend that a for COVID-19.
The Premier League has 92 games remaining to complete the season. The league was initially aiming to return by June 8, with the possibility of matches taking place at various neutral venues. This new timeline could see them resume potentially a week earlier, with Liverpool on the brink of winning its first league title in 30 years.
With some players having their contracts expire on June 30, the league has agreed to extend the deals until the end of the 2019-20 season, whenever that may be, according to The Independent.
If the Premier League returns, it would be the second major European league to do so. The Bundesliga officially returns this Saturday. France's Ligue 1 had its season canceled after the country banned sporting events until September, while La Liga in Spain and Serie A in Italy remain hopeful to start play sometime next month with La Liga expected to resume from mid-to-late June.