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May 29, 2020

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Media: EPL to restart on June 17

The English Premier League season is set to restart on June 17, three months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, media reported yesterday.

No matches have been played since Leicester City’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9, with Liverpool just two wins away from securing the title.

Top-flight clubs voted unanimously on Wednesday to return to contact training and were meeting again yesterday to discuss issues such as the restart date and the rebate to broadcasters.

The BBC reported that the first two matches on the Wednesday would be Aston Villa vs Sheffield United and Manchester City vs Arsenal. Those matches are the two games in hand.

A full fixture list would then be played on the weekend of June 19-21. All games will be behind closed-doors.

So far, 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the EPL.

Liverpool was 25 points clear of 2019 champion City when the EPL was shut down, on the verge of being crowned English champion for the first time in 30 years.

Bournemouth, Villa and Norwich City are in the relegation places.

Germany’s Bundesliga resumed earlier this month and La Liga in Spain hopes to return from June 11, while a crucial summit between Italian football officials and the country’s sports minister was being be held later yesterday.

Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora was holding a video conference at 6:30pm with representatives of Italian football including federation, or FIGC, President Gabriele Gravina and Lega Serie A chief Paolo Dal Pino.

The season has been on hold since March 9 when it was halted as coronavirus infections spread rapidly in Italy.

Italian football bosses want competition to resume on June 13, with the possibility of starting with Italian Cup semifinals, followed by a full return to competition on June 20.

The worst-case scenario would be a government refusal to return to action which, like in France, would signal the end of the season.

But even in the event of a government green light yesterday, the football world will have to complete the health protocol applicable for competition.

Many issues remain to be resolved, including match schedules, players’ contracts which end on June 30 and unpaid TV rights by broadcasters. But the thorniest remains the two-week quarantine period in the case of a positive test.

Bologna on Wednesday announced a “suspicious case” among one of its coaching staff. Pending final results, the team has returned to individual training.


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