Rolling Updates on 'Project Restart': Week 8

Monday, 11 May, 2020 36comments  |  Jump to last
With the Premier League meeting on Monday to find a way to restart, the media are reporting numerous stories, rumours, proposals and suggestions about how things may move forward.

Here are links to the most recent stories in Week 8 of the lockdown:

Shadow sports minister proposes 20 questions over Premier League's Project Restart

In a letter seen by Mirror Sport, the Labour MP for Wirral South has asked sports minister Nigel Huddleston to "swiftly" provide information on a range of subjects surrounding the plan, including the amount of coronavirus testing that will be needed, the safety of participants and how many medical staff will be in attendance for behind closed doors matches.

The 20 questions are provided at the following link.
The Mirror — 11 May

Project Restart: the four stances dividing Premier League clubs

For some clubs ‘the show must go on' while others say 'if not now, when?' 'Health comes first' and ‘not under these conditions' — at the following link The Guardian takes a look at the differing approaches to a resumption that are dividing the Premier League clubs.
The Guardian — 11 May

Clubs want rethink on neutral grounds directive

The Premier League have been urged to ask the Government to reconsider their stance on football having to restart at neutral venues by as many as 12 of its clubs.
The Telegraph — 11 May

Clubs hope police support will help scrap neutral venues proposal

A group of Premier League clubs are to hold talks with their local police forces this week, with hopes the idea of using neutral venues can be scrapped.
Sky Sports — 12 May

Tackling and contact to be prohibited initially when training resumes

Premier League players would be barred from tackling and close contact at their training grounds if group training sessions are allowed to resume in the nextr few weeks.

A document is believed to have been circulated to clubs outlining a number of measures designed to convince players, their employers, the game's governing bodies and the Government that football can safely restart next month.

Among them are bi-weekly tests for novel coronavirus, daily temperature checks and questionnaire, a mandatory seven-day quarantine for positive cases. If any player tests positive, with or without symptoms, they will be forced to self-isolate for seven days, and directives that players drive themselves alone to training where they won't be fed.
The Mirror — 12 May

Premier League stars could refuse to return to training next week

Premier League players could refuse to return to training on Monday even if Project Restart gets the green light. Clubs fear players with asthma, family members with underlying health issues and BAME players will not sign consent forms to return to training.

The Premier League are aiming to restart the season on 12 June and will hold a video meeting with players and managers on Wednesday to discuss safety concerns.
The Mirror — 12 May

Premier League captains meet officials to discuss concerns over 'Project Restart'

Project Restart could be delayed at least a week after a meeting with players and managers today where club captains expressed concerns about player safety and sought further assurances. The planned return date of June 12 could be pushed back as the Premier League looks to get top-flight football up and running.

The video conference call lasted over 2 hours as players looked for more information on what a return to training and action could look like. Players on the call were joined by their managers, as well as Premier League medical officer Mark Gillett and Government medical expert Dr Jonathan Van-Tam.
The Echo — 13 May

Friday Night Football set to kick off TV 'bonanza'

Friday Night Football is set to kick off a TV 'bonanza' on the opening weekend of Premier League's 'Project Restart' in June with all 10 games to be televised live and Tottenham v Man United the favourite for being the curtain-raiser.

TV companies have been told to prepare for the season to resume on 12 or 19 June, with a Friday night game, four on Saturday and four on Sunday before the return of Monday Night Football each weekend.
The Mail — 14 May

Government confirm the Premier League can return in June

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden declared: ”The Government is opening the door for competitive football to return safely in June.

“This should include widening access for fans to view live coverage and ensure finances from the game's resumption supports the wider football family.”
The Mail — 15 May

Single failed Covid-19 test spells quarantine for squads

Premier League squads could be quarantined in the event of a single failed coronavirus test if clubs vote to return to training next week.
The Guardian – 15 May


Reader Comments (36)

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Pat Kelly
1 Posted 11/05/2020 at 12:11:08
Football as we knew it is finished until there's a vaccine or some other effective treatment for coronavirus. Who knows when of if that will be possible? In the meantime, if any club is as stupid as Everton were to buy this waster then bite their hand off.
Martin Reppion
2 Posted 11/05/2020 at 13:35:48
The FA's concentration on the ٟbn they reckon they'll lose out on if the season doesn't get completed is the only driver for restarting the Premier League.

The knock on effect in terms of future seasons, player contracts, retention and trading of players, other sports, and other competitions are being completely ignored. More importantly, so are the health implications for all concerned.

3 Brighton players have reported as testing positive. Will anyone want to play them? Or play anyone who has played them?

The financial hit needs to be taken. The season aborted. They can have the title, for what it means in the overall context of the world at the moment. Then let us move on when we have a clearer picture with next season delayed, if necessary, until it is safe to play.

Mike Hughes
3 Posted 11/05/2020 at 13:47:55
Martin #1

I agree with most of your comment.

But THEY should not be given anything as they have not won anything. I wouldn't even give them a paper certificate. Screw them.

I'm even looking forward to them whinging and whining about it in years to come.

It'll go like this:

“It wasn't our fault. It was our year.”

More important things.
Null and void.

John Keating
4 Posted 11/05/2020 at 15:03:53
The Premier League wanted to kick off on 13th June.

The Government announce no elite sports before 1st June, and that's if everything goes according to plan with the Covid-19 rate and the Clubs agreeing to all the nonsense.

It really is getting beyond a joke and the longer this goes on, the more foolish both the Premier League and the clubs are going to look.

Everton can be so brilliant at times with their Community links and PR and so embarrassing with their being led by pathetic authorities.

James Flynn
5 Posted 11/05/2020 at 15:58:50
Since I can't find anything new on a financial settlement between the clubs and the TV networks, I'd guess there's only Plan A: Finish the season starting 13 June.
Rob Halligan
6 Posted 11/05/2020 at 16:07:10
Simple way to finish the season. Just reverse the result from the first games. So For example, we beat the shite, Leicester, Norwich, Sheff Utd, Bournemouth and Villa. Lose to wolves and Southampton and draw with Spurs. The shite lose to everyone they've got let to play and blow the league!! 😁😁😁
John Raftery
7 Posted 11/05/2020 at 16:12:57
From the Premier League's point of view they have to be seen by sponsors and broadcasters to be making every reasonable effort to restart the season within the parameters set by the government. Other elite sports are doing likewise.

Obviously any restart will depend on what happens with the spread of the virus in the coming weeks. A week is a long time in the development of Covid-19. As an illustration yesterday, Sunday 10th May, for the first time since early March Sefton reported no new confirmed cases, Liverpool reported four. A week ago, Sunday 3rd May, the figures were nineteen for Sefton and twenty six for Liverpool. Both boroughs have been in low single figures for each of the last four days.

Plainly if the current loosening of restrictions produces a significant new wave of cases the resumption of elite sports and much else will be further postponed. In the meantime all organisations and companies have a right, indeed a responsibility, to make plans for a resumption of business based on the best available assumptions.

Of one thing I believe we can be certain. The 19/20 Premier League season will not be declared null and void.

Paul Jones
8 Posted 11/05/2020 at 16:14:35
To complete a league to fulfil commercial contracts and TV audience would have worthy winners for the beginning of the "Planet Football Brand Inc". Football for owners and consumers was always been the direction of travel. Like in other aspects of life sadly tragic events will be quickly turned to the advantage of the few.
Patrick McFarlane
9 Posted 11/05/2020 at 18:49:49
Paul #8, The mention of tragic events reminded me that today is the 35th anniversary of the Bradford City fire disaster.
Steve Carse
10 Posted 11/05/2020 at 19:01:49
I have to say I find all this anti-PL stuff somewhat puzzling. Football is a multi billion business so of course it's going to fight to contain its declining finances. Whilst the PL's fight for solutions is solely out of self interest let's not forget that if PL finances go pear-shaped the greater impact will be felt at the lower end of the league structure, where there is the likelihood of clubs forced out of existence. I suspect it would also accelerate the establishing of a European League, to the delight of the richest PL clubs and their European counterparts who have long wished to see the demise of the PL itself.

Football is an industry the constituent parts of which (the clubs) a great many hold close to their hearts. It is a major part of the culture of this country and part of the core of social life for a great many people. It's also a major employer, directly and indirectly, of thousands. Given all this I'm just surprised that the EPL/EFL/FA have not yet opened discussions with government for a subsidy -- well if they can find 𧺬m of supports to give to Easyjet to see it out of its difficulties then why not? And it wouldn't be difficult to design conditions to a subsidy that would favour the lesser clubs and lower leagues and not just re-boost the finances of the PL.

Mark Burton
11 Posted 11/05/2020 at 19:18:54
Brighton had 3 players tested positive lately. How can we finish the season behind closed doors? The players lives are at risk. Spitting, coughing and sneezing will have to be banned.

No tackling will be allowed as that would break the social distance regulations and only 5 players would be in the change room at one time to keep the 6-foot distance. Would a player be allowed to sue the FA if he or she got the virus from playing games behind closed doors?

John Boon
12 Posted 11/05/2020 at 19:40:22
Rob (6).. A man after my own heart. Your suggestion is original, pure genius and would be seconded by all "unbiased" Evertonians. Mind you I couldn't vote because I am admittedly THE most "biased" of Evertonians. I actually turn Blue when I see Red. I enjoy being that way and I am far too old biased and sensible to change.Besides the past season has been far too long gone to even think about completing it.
Paul Jones
13 Posted 11/05/2020 at 19:52:18
To echo Mark's comments at #11, what will happen when a team has got a corner? No contact, no approach within 2 metres.

We will all be back to the Silva plan of marking space not people. Imagine that? Every game would end up 9-8 or something.

Steve Carse
14 Posted 11/05/2020 at 20:31:26
I don't think having no contact/tackling and giving 2 m of space to the opposition would be too difficult for our players to adapt to.
Rob Halligan
15 Posted 11/05/2020 at 20:54:25
Apparently, one of the "can't do's" will be that the goalkeeper will not be allowed to shout or even talk when his team are defending a corner. Have you ever heard such garbage!!
Martin Berry
16 Posted 11/05/2020 at 20:56:19
As it stands, Fantasy to think it will start in the next few weeks.

One idea is to suspend the fixtures until September, then play the remaining fixtures sporadically and behind closed doors, and complete in 2021, in effect stretching over two seasons.

Hopefully there will be time and space to plan the games and other logistics in conjunction with various authorities. Of course it will mean less games but it will give chance to finish the season in February or March?

There will then be a few months for purely international friendlies with crowds (if Covid-19 is licked ) and time to prepare for Euros 2021. The first full resumption of the Premier League would be August or September for the 2021-22 season.

Yes, I know there is TV money and clubs' incomes being cut but they will just have to survive and live in the real world and adapt with a temporary hit till things get back to normal.

Danny Baily
17 Posted 11/05/2020 at 21:11:08
I'd question the sporting integrity of the league if it resumed as normal in a few weeks time (i.e. packed stadiums, one match a week etc.) as too much time has passed. But with the kinds of changes that are being discussed? Absolutely no integrity.

Cancel it. They can create a new knockout competition and hold it this summer to satisfy the broadcasters. It can include just the Sky darlings.

Martin Mason
18 Posted 11/05/2020 at 21:12:07
But this seasons have to be finished before next seasons can be started as clubs will have been relegated and promoted between seasons?
Michael Lynch
19 Posted 11/05/2020 at 21:29:38
John @ 7 - very true. Looking at today's stats, there were only 65 new infections reported in London, a city of over 8,000,000 people, the lowest daily figure since early March. At it's peak, there were over 1,000 a day.

Today's loosening of the Lockdown – when you actually look at what's changed – is minimal, so there's really no reason why the infection rate should rise swiftly, or why football – or many other businesses for that matter – can't start up again over the next couple of months, although under hugely different circumstances to when we left off in March.

My preference is for no football until it's safe to admit fans to the grounds again, but I'm pretty certain that won't be the case.

Patrick McFarlane
20 Posted 11/05/2020 at 21:42:38
BBC are reporting that Premier League clubs have been told they could have to repay an estimated 𧸌m to domestic and international broadcasters - even if the season resumes behind closed doors.

And BBC Sport has learned the clubs were warned on Monday that figure could rise if the season is curtailed or if relegation is scrapped.

Danny Rose has put his head above the parapet by saying "The government is saying we are bringing football back because it is going to boost the nation's morale," he said in an Instagram live session.

"I don't give a fuck about the nation's morale. People's lives are at risk. Football shouldn't even be spoken about coming back until the numbers have dropped massively.

"It's bollocks. We'll see. I'm supposed to be tested on Friday, so we will just have to wait and see.

I think we know which argument will 'win' the day.

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 11/05/2020 at 21:46:24
Michael (19), I truly hope you're right about the low number of new infections (in London) getting and staying lower, although it was reported the tube trains in London this morning were heavily packed due to more people going back to work on Johnson's advice yesterday. So let's see what the infections are like in a couple of weeks. I stress I hope they continue as they are.
Martin Mason
22 Posted 11/05/2020 at 21:49:03
I feel so sorry for LFC if this totally devalues any League title they may be awarded. If any club deserved it, it was them.
Karl Masters
23 Posted 11/05/2020 at 22:57:26
It's all very well for Danny Rose to say he doesn't give a fuck about anything, but being paid 𧴜k a week to do nothing isn't realistic either.

It's the players who simply have to take the financial hit. The 20 or so first team players at each Premier League club are vastly overpaid, but it's accepted when they're playing the matches. Now they aren't, slash their pay. None of them will starve, none will be homeless, all will continue to live like Kings.

For all their bluster a few weeks back, it's quite clear that most of them aren't giving anything to society. Frankly they make me sick and I know most fans are rapidly losing the emotional bond they had with their clubs. Be careful, Football... you might live to regret this virus more than you know.

Eric Myles
24 Posted 12/05/2020 at 02:31:46
Martin #22, you forgot to enable the sarcasm font on that post, or use the tongue-in-cheek emoji. ;-?
Martin Nicholls
25 Posted 13/05/2020 at 13:02:40
The latest "must do" as part of Project Restart is that players bring tackled should turn their face away from the tackler!
Brian Wilkinson
26 Posted 13/05/2020 at 17:45:29
Here's one for you, if clubs are held to ransom to extend contracts that expire in June, would clubs then be able to put those players on furlong pay past June that are going to be released by the club.
Peter Neilson
27 Posted 13/05/2020 at 19:14:55
Brian they can be on furlough as long as the player and the club agree to it but only if the contract hasn't expired. If a player declines furlough then like any employees they are then potentially open to redundancy. The terms of the players contract would determine how this is settled even up-to paying it off in full. If this is the case then there is no benefit to the club.
Michael Kenrick
28 Posted 14/05/2020 at 08:53:28
Before the crisis, Sky were listed as showing our three biggest games vs Liverpool (H), Leicester City (H) and Tottenham Hotspur (A). Presumably that will remain the same?

Guess I might need to reinstate BT Sport if this nonsense really goes ahead. Then again, seems likely most of our other less appealing games will be free-to-air or on YouTube.

Surely Amazon Prime will be in with a shout too? Or did they finish their allotted quota?

Martin Nicholls
29 Posted 14/05/2020 at 09:50:00
Michael#28 - I suppose that as you report games on TW, you have little alternative other than to watch these proposed farces. I suspect I will be in a majority who have no intention of doing so because for me there will be no entertainment value, I won't be watching a real game or the real Everton, but mainly out of principle. These games should not be played.
Rob Halligan
30 Posted 14/05/2020 at 10:12:20
Will players still be able to stand side by side in the Goodison park tunnel before they come out, or will teams come out one after the other? The tunnel at Everton is not the widest anyway, and both teams are stood side by side until Z Cars starts.

From what I remember, the walk from the dressing rooms up the tunnel to the pitch can be about 20 - 30 seconds, so if players have to abide by the two metre social distancing, and enter the pitch individually, it could take up to ten minutes before both teams are finally on the pitch. Maybe we could introduce the American style introduction in the NFL, when players names are read out before running into the pitch!!

Kevin Prytherch
31 Posted 14/05/2020 at 10:12:30
Martin 22 I totally agree. It was bad enough in 2015 when someone planted a slab of black ice just under Gerrard. They deserved it then and they deserve it now. They should really be awarded it twice as they would have won it if it wasn't for that intervention.

They have a Devine right to win the title every few years and this situation is merely depriving them of that right.

I propose that, once every 10 years, we simply cancel the league and award it to them for good behaviour.

It's only fair that a team that plays by the rules, doesn't try to con referees, has an impeccable equality and diversity record, has the best behaved and most knowledgeable fans in the world and made the unbelievable ethical decision to reverse the furlough scheme for their hard working, low earning staff, is awarded the title based on behavioural merit.

I'm glad that someone else is seeing sense on this thread.

Jay Wood

32 Posted 15/05/2020 at 14:55:11

The first breach in the dam in the top four divisions in England.

League Two's season has been brought to an early conclusion following discussions between clubs and the English Football League.

The table is set to be decided using a points-per-game method, but promotion and relegation are not finalised.

League Two clubs vote to end season, but League One teams fail to decide

Eric Myles
33 Posted 15/05/2020 at 15:01:33
Brian #26, how could clubs be held to ransom to extend players contracts?
Nigel Munford
34 Posted 15/05/2020 at 16:13:53
League Two clubs have made a very sensible decision let's see if the rest follow suit.
Peter Neilson
35 Posted 15/05/2020 at 16:33:12
Looks like they are proposing no relegation but still having promotion. If that approach follows through to the leagues above, it would mean a Premier League with 23 clubs and a reduced timeline to play the games.
Jerome Shields
36 Posted 16/05/2020 at 08:24:14
The Premier League needs to be concentrating on next season and how to rebuild. But instead, they are trying to appease existing contracts with media companies and sort out a lot of overpaid players, with awkward agents, who have little interest in club finances.

It's obvious that all contracts where negotiated without taking into account any downside situation. The money flowed in, but now it's stopping and it will take time to recover.

Could mean a breakup of what has been before the pandemic. A separate Premier League from other Leagues and a European League.

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