British prime minister Boris Johnson unveiled a plan on Monday titled “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy,” and it provides that restarting the English Premier League’s 2019-2020 season could happen as early as June 1st.
Step one of Johnson’s plan kicks in on Wednesday, May 13th. The goal is to slowly ease restrictions, depending on how the pandemic moves during that time. Workers would remain at home if possible, but “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines will be introduced as secure as practicable. Schools would mostly remain closed, but the government would start urging families to send kids back to school where it makes sense.
Phase two of the plan would go into effect no earlier than June 1st, based on what the numbers are showing. There are five tests for easing measures, which include:
- Confidence the NHS can provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment across the UK
- See a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from Covid-19 so there is confidence the UK has moved beyond the peak
- Reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board
- Confidence in the range of operational challenge4s, including testing capacity and PPE are in hand, with supply able to meet future demand
- Confident any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelm the NHS
As these tests are met, restrictions will start to be eased. Under phase two, this would include, “[p]ermitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact.”
The EPL is discussing a plan for returning to action, targeting a June 12th start date. It would require 14 of the 20 clubs approving, but according to The Telegraph, the six bottom teams and two teams higher in the standings are believed to be against the plan.
UEFA has given European leagues until May 25th to inform the governing body of their plans to restart domestic competitions. The EPL’s timeline involves a potential vote next Monday, with the UEFA deadline a week after that.