The British Government is allowing sports competitions to resume behind closed doors from Monday 1 June after a stoppage of over two months due to the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
“The wait is over. British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments,” Secretary of State for Sports, Oliver Dowden, announced at a press conference on Saturday, thus paving the way for the resumption of the Premier League.
All sports will be played behind closed doors, Dowden said, announcing safety guidelines set by the government for the resumption. Everyone authorised to be present at a sporting venue will need to be screened for coronavirus symptoms, and those suspected of being infected will have to be quarantined.
There will be a one-way system for people and vehicles, while social distancing will be maintained “wherever possible,” including for substitutes on the bench. Players will also be warned about celebrating with their teammates after goals.
Dressing-room use will have to be reduced to a minimum, even if players will still be allowed to use the showers.
The Premier League will resume on Wednesday 17 June, over three months after it was suspended due to the pandemic. As in the other sports, matches will be played behind closed doors.
Two delayed matches, Manchester City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United, will be played on that Wednesday so that the timetable can be brought up to date. The 10 fixtures of the 30th matchday will then be played from Friday 19 June onward.
We set 2 challenges for football’s return to action behind closed doors
1. Widen access with more free to view matches so fans can support safely from ? #homeadvantage
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) May 30, 2020
Premier League Director Richard Masters welcomed Dowden’s announcement. “We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on 17 June, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” he said, adding that this involved consulting with the League’s clubs, players and managers along with all other stakeholders.
“If all goes well, we’ll be thrilled to resume the 2019-2020 season in just over two weeks’ time,” Masters said.
In the meantime, horse racing will be the first sport to reopen, starting with the Newcastle Meet on Monday.
The Brussels Times