The rest of Manchester United’s season is starting to unfold as Project Restart, the Premier League’s government-agreed plan to resume games, starts to take shape.
Premier League shareholders are set to meet on Monday to finalise plans to restart the season behind closed doors on June 12th.
The bottom six clubs are opposed to the part of the plan that will see all games taking place at 8-10 neutral venues. They each want home field advantage as they battle relegation and say they will only agree to the nutral venue plan if relegation is scrapped.
But the TV companies and the rest of the league say most games will become meaningless if there is no relegation, so the remaining 14 clubs are expected to overrule the six dissenters in a majority vote.
The Times reports that ‘the intention is to stage three or four Premier League and Championship games every day at different kick-off times until the end of July. There are 92 Premier League games left to be played and 108 in the Championship.’
‘There is a strong desire to put 45 of those 92 Premier League matches on free-to-air television. One option being considered is the use of each league’s YouTube channel.’
Safety concerns continue to dominate discussions. 24-hour COVID-19 testing kits will be bought from a company in Hong Kong to allay fears about draining NHS resources.
In addition, The Telegraph reports that ‘spitting, swapping shirts after matches, sharing water bottles and even team celebrations are expected to be banned’.
‘Next week there is also a planned meeting between the Premier League and the captains’ group to explain the ideas for the return to training’, The Telegraph says.
‘The Premier League will also explain its plan to the 20 managers while there will be involvement from the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers Association to hopefully reach a consensus.’
In addition, The Sun claims that a number of clubs will give individual players the right to refuse to play if they feel at risk.
The outlet reports that nine of the 20 Premier League sides have agreed to this, with Aston Villa’s Dean Smith already claiming two of his players with either personal or family health issues have chosen not to play.
It is unknown whether United are among the clubs allowing players to refuse and whether any United player would take up the option if it were offered.
Meanwhile, The Mirror has cast its crystal ball further into the future and claims that fans will be allowed back in Premier League grounds from October.
The outlet reports that ‘a 50-page, five-point plan has been drawn up by the Prime Minister in order to try and get the country back to normal once the coronavirus crisis has eased.’
‘Getting fans back into stadiums is part of the fifth point of this plan … and will be put forward by the prime minister as he sets out a “roadmap” of his plans on Sunday.’
If Project Restart and Johnson’s five-point plan both go ahead as planned it would see the current season finished by the end of July, with UEFA competitions completing in August, and the new season starting behind closed doors for around a month before returning to normal.
United might have to finish their Premier League season at neutral grounds as the authorities try to ensure player safety. How much do you know about those neither-home-nor-away games the Red Devils have played in the past? Take our quiz below to find out.