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Coronavirus: Premier League to return on 17 June
28 May 2020, 15:45
The Premier League will return on 17 June after being suspended for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2019-20 season was suspended on 9th March.
No matches have been played since Leicester City's 4-0 win over Aston Villa on 9 March.
Any fixtures scheduled for after that date were postponed.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta then tested positive for coronavirus on 13 March, throwing the season into further jeopardy.
Executives from the 20 top-flight clubs gathered for a shareholders' meeting on Thursday, and it was reported that agreement was reached over the remaining rounds of games to be played.
The first game to return will be Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal, which will both be played on the 17th.
A full fixture list will be played on the weekend of the 19th. There are 92 fixtures still to play.
On Wednesday, clubs unanimously voted to resume contact training, having started non-contact training last week.
So far 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus across the league.
Premier League players and staff will continue to be tested twice a week.
It’s coming back, it’s coming back, it’s coming, football’s coming back. June 17 💥— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 28, 2020
The clubs also agreed that all 92 matches would be broadcast live by the league's partners - Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday June 17.
"But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.
"Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.
"The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.
"We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season."
New staggered kick-off times will be used for the remaining 92 matches.
Games on a Friday will kick off at 8pm, while on Saturday the slots will be 12.30pm, 3pm, 5.30pm and 8pm.
Sunday matches will kick off at either 12pm, 2pm, 4.30pm and 7pm, with Monday games starting at 8pm.
Midweek games on Tuesdays and Wednesday will kick off at either 6pm or 8pm.
Positive to see further steps on the return of football today— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) May 28, 2020
I’ve been pushing for as many games as possible to be free to view & for the return of the top league to support the whole football family
We are still working on govt guidance before we green light sports’ return
The restart date is conditional on top-level sport being given the green light to return by the Government.
In its Covid-19 road map document published on May 11, the Government said cultural and sporting events would be able to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, "while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact" no earlier than June 1.
Other 'step two' actions, such as the phased reopening of schools and of non-essential retail outlets, were given the go-ahead by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Downing Street daily briefing on Thursday.
If and when the green light is given, it is understood clubs will need to hold a confirmatory vote on the start date and on the Government's return to play protocols, which have not yet been published. These will cover the logistics around staging sporting events behind closed doors and more on measures to prevent mass gatherings.
Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, welcomed the news on Twitter.
"Positive to see further steps on the return of football today," he wrote.
"I've been pushing for as many games as possible to be free to view & for the return of the top league to support the whole football family.
"We are still working on govt guidance before we green light sports' return."