Fans have been waiting for more than two months, but now, it finally seems as if we’re on the verge of seeing the English Premier League return to our screens.
The German Bundesliga has served as the blueprint for the rest of world football, with the majority of major leagues being in the process of getting back underway. Of course, that’s not going to happen overnight, and a number of steps are involved.
The Premier League themselves released a statement on Phase 1 and what it means for clubs getting back out onto the training ground.
“Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to return to small-group training from tomorrow afternoon, the first step towards restarting the Premier League, when safe to do so.
Step One of the Return to Training Protocol enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing. Contact training is not yet permitted.
This first stage has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, Premier League club doctors, independent experts and the Government.
Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure everyone returns to training in the safest environment possible.
The health and wellbeing of all participants is the Premier League’s priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process.
Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA and LMA as protocols for full-contact training are developed.”
Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, stated that the possibility of games being made available on free-to-air television was being discussed.
“I think that creates an opportunity for us to be able to get some sport, some Premier League free to air,” Dowden said. “Those discussions are ongoing. I am having productive discussions – a couple of weeks ago and now the latest ones with Premier League, the EFL and the FA.
“I hope we can sort this out and also hope we can get more money going into the sport of football. I think we can find ourselves in a win-win situation.”
“I hope, subject to the sign-off by Public Health England and others, we will then later this week, very shortly, get the guidance about how we can have training in a contact environment. This is for elite sports so that they can start to build up.
“The final stage would then be the guidelines as to whether they can resume behind closed doors. In doing that we have been guided by the health advice, and I can update you again today for the fourth time there were meetings between elite sports and Public Health England to find out how we can do it safely.
“If we can do it safely, I’d like us to be able to get it up and running towards mid-June if that’s possible.”
With mid-June now officially being a plausible option, it may not be too long before arguably the most popular football league in world football gets back to a point where it can entertain fans around the globe once more.
Will that come to fruition? We’ll have to wait and see.