Premier League restart plans are becoming clearer by the day with mere days left until the 2019/20 campaign returns to action and finally comes to a less than elegant halt.
Dates have been revealed for the Project Restart plan, including the opening games, season end date and other competitions that will no doubt be of interest to top flight clubs.
Check out the full Premier League restart timeline below.
Premier League restart timeline
Dates are subject to change
Return to training – 28th May
The players are no longer working from home, so to speak. Premier League clubs are in full contact training following initially distanced sessions. Regular tests are being carried out to minimise the risk of an outbreak among squads.
Fitness will be high on the agenda for most players. The break hasn’t been much different to a regular summer off-season, but of course there will be no pre-season to ease back into shape. Players will be expected to be fit and firing from the first whistle when the games begin.
New fixtures announced – Before 17th June
The next step in the plan is the announcement of the Premier League fixture list. It remains to be seen whether originally planned match weeks will be reshuffled or kept in tact. Other leagues have largely kept their schedules the same, albeit with different days of the week being selected to maximise the number of games in a short space of time.
Expect plenty of midweek games as well as weekend slots, meaning we could theoretically be able to watch at least one Premier League game every day until the end of the season.
We’ll bring you all the latest news and fixtures – as well as TV details – once the information is released.
Premier League returns (games in hand) – 17th June
The first pair of games expected to be played are Manchester City v Arsenal and Aston Villa v Sheffield United. These are games in hand that should have already been played but were postponed due to City and Villa’s appearance in the Carabao Cup final.
Once the two games have been played, the regular schedule will begin in earnest.
Premier League returns (first full match week) – 19th/22nd June
In your finest Joker voice it’s time to say: “here… we… go!” The two openers will serve as canapés ahead of the feast to come on 19th June and beyond. This is the first full weekend of games on the schedule, and the kick-off times make for delightful reading.
Scheduled kick-off times will be as follows: 8pm (Friday and Monday), 12:30pm, 3pm, 5:30pm, 8pm (Saturday) and 12pm, 2pm, 4:30pm, 7pm (Sunday). To boil it down, you will be able to watch every single Premier League match live without doubling up a weekends.
That’s approximately 10 hours of Premier League action every Saturday, and marginally less on a Sunday. Every Saturday and Sunday until 2019/20 is complete. Bring it on.
Championship returns – 20th June
Now, the Premier League will roll along at pace once it starts up, and relegation will be enforced on three teams by season’s end. That frees up three places for Championship contenders to claim a place in the top division.
Leeds and West Brom are in the driving seat right now, with six points separating them from Fulham. They are the heavy favourites to win automatic promotion, but how will they react to empty stadiums and post-lockdown football?
Fulham sit in third, four points ahead of the chasing pack which includes Brentford and Nottingham Forest, with Preston and Bristol City jostling behind them.
FA Cup returns – 27th June/1st August
The FA Cup show must go on. Remarkably the world’s oldest competition will be brought to completion in 2020, albeit with an unprecedented timeline.
The quarter-finals begin on 27th June, the semi-finals will take place at Wembley on 18th and 19th July, culminating in the FA Cup final on 1st August.
Eight teams remain in the competition, and you can check out all the details by heading to our FA Cup guide.
Premier League season ends – 25th July
A manic six week blitz of Premier League drama, the season will finally draw to a close on 25th July.
The plan beyond July remains hazy, but the 2020/21 season will go ahead in 2020, albeit with a start date potentially in September to make way for the next addition to the calendar…
European football returns – 7th/29th August (TBC)
You forgot about the Champions League, didn’t you? European football will resume, although the dates haven’t been locked and sealed in place just yet.
EURO 2020 may be postponed, but the Champions League and Europa League may both take on a similar form. Games could be played every three days until the remaining rounds of both UEFA tournaments are completed, drawing to a close on 29th August.
These plans are yet to be confirmed, but it may give non-competing clubs some respite prior to 2020/21, while the European elite may be forced to run straight into next season without much of a break. The price of success?