Completing the Premier League campaign and getting the new season underway will see much-needed funds flow to clubs in the lower divisions that are struggling due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Brighton & Hove Albion CEO Paul Barber has said.
Football has been suspended since mid-March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak but the Premier League hopes to restart next month, initially without fans attending after the government opened the door for elite sport to return.
EFL clubs rely much more than Premier League teams on match day revenue and ticket income and its chairman, Rick Parry had said playing games behind closed doors could actually be a loss-making venture for some teams.
“If we can finish this season, get next season under way, then all of the solidarity payments that go through the Premier League to the lower levels will hopefully give those guys a boost as well.
“It will also enable them to get through a very difficult period,” Brighton’s Barber told reporters.
Top flight teams voted to make an advance of 125 million pounds (152.68 million dollars) to the English Football League (EFL) and National League sides in April, which included early solidarity payments and parachute payments.
“There are a lot of mouths to feed and there is no easy solution other than getting the games back on as soon as we can and when it is safe,” Barber added.
“That will then start to turn the economy within football which enables us to make those distributions further down the game.”
Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)
No positive results in latest English Premier League coronavirus tests
The tests were carried out on Thursday and Friday.
“The Premier League can today (Saturday) confirm that on Thursday and Friday, 1,130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive,” the league said in a statement.
In the three previous rounds of testing since players resumed training there were 12 positives.
No Premier League matches have been played since March but the league said on Thursday that the season would restart on June 17 provided all safety requirements have been met.
Earlier on Saturday the government gave the green light for the resumption of elite sports in England from Monday.
But it also said the resumption would only be if strict safety guidelines outlined in its Stage Three protocol were adhered to.
The Premier League’s Chief Executive, Richard Masters, said he welcomed the government’s announcement, but he added there was still work to be done to “ensure the safety of everyone involved”.
“We could not have reached this point without the full support of the government, especially DCMS, Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer’s team.
“If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019/2020 season in just over two weeks’ time.”
There are 92 fixtures remaining, all of which will be played without fans.
The Premier League had reached an agreement for a “significant proportion” of its remaining matches to be made available for live broadcast on free-to-air platforms, including for the first time BBC Sport.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
English Premier League says using “home and away’’ venues remains its wish
The Premier League, which will resume on June 17, says its aim is for the remaining games to be played on the usual home and away basis.
But it insisted that the federation had a contingency plan for neutral venues.
The initial suggestion from the UK government had been for the closed-door matches to be played at neutral venues.
But some clubs have expressed opposition to that idea —– views which have been put to the government by the league.
Some media reports have suggested that select games which may have a risk of fans gathering outside grounds would still be held at a neutral venue.’
One of such is the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool.
And this will be even if most matches are held on a home/away basis.
“The Premier League’s ambition is to complete all of our remaining fixtures this season home and away, where possible,” the league said in a statement on Friday.
“We are working with our clubs to ensure risks are assessed and minimised, while co-operating with the police at a local and national level.
“Discussions with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and UK Football Policing Unit have been positive and are continuing.
“We are prepared for all outcomes and have a neutral venue contingency,” the statement added.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters told Sky Sports News: “We’ll have a clearer picture in the next seven to 10 days. But we hope the amount of games (at neutral grounds) will be low.”
“…(the police) have legitimate concerns but we think we can mitigate some of the issues they’re trying to deal with.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
English Premier League to restart on June 17
The 2019/2020 Premier League season in England will restart on June 17, according to a media report on Thursday.
Howevet, a spokesman for the Premier League, which stopped play in March, declined to comment as the meeting of 20 club officials was ongoing.
The season will get under way on the Wednesday date with Aston Villa versus Sheffield United and Manchester City versus Arsenal, which are both games in hand.
A full fixture list would then be played on the weekend of June 19 to June 21, the report said.
All games will be behind closed doors.
On Wednesday, clubs agreed to move to Phase Two of the comeback with players working in larger groups and closer to each other.
The next step would be full contact training and preparation for the return to action.
Liverpool, searching for their first league title in 30 years, lead the standings by 25 points.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Chinese premier expects positive GDP growth in 2020
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday the country is expected to achieve positive economic growth this year if security in six key areas is ensured. The six areas refer to job security, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments. Li highlighted efforts to maintain security in the first three areas. China will take targeted measures instead of massive stimulus to boost economic growth, Li told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual national legislative session.
China to introduce more opening-up measures: premier
China, U.S. must use wisdom to expand common interests, manage differences: premier
English Premier League clubs vote for return to contact training
Premier League football clubs in England on Wednesday voted unanimously to return to contact training, including tackling.
A statement, released after a meeting of all 20 clubs, said: “Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.
“The Premier League’s priority is the health and well-being of all participants.”
Failure to resume the season could cost the league around 750 million pounds (921.75 million dollars) in lost revenue from broadcasters, according to British media estimates.
Clubs last week began the first phase of `Project Restart’ after agreeing to a return to training in small groups under strict limitations and no contact.
The announcement that Phase Two can commence follows 1,744 tests on players and staff for coronavirus which produced eight positives, including Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
A third round of testing took place on Monday and Tuesday with the results not yet back.
However, Wednesday’s vote is a big step towards the league completing the 92 remaining fixtures.
On Thursday Premier League shareholders will discuss the business aspects of `Project Restart’, including a possible broadcast rebate and what to do if the season is curtailed.
Some reports said clubs could lose out even if the league restarts, should broadcasters demand a 330 million pounds rebate.
Phase Two allows up to 10 players to work together and will ease the time restrictions on training sessions and let players to be closer.
The third phase will be a move to a more typical form of training in the build-up to actual games.
The league had signaled June 12 as a potential start date, but it now looks likely to be later in the month.
Matches would be held without fans in attendance.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Chinese premier to meet press on Thursday
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will meet the press at the Great Hall of the People after the conclusion of the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress on Thursday afternoon.
The press conference will be broadcast live by the China Media Group and on xinhuanet.com. ■
Peterborough’s Fry begs Premier League to bail out EFL clubs
Peterborough United’s Director of Football Barry Fry has pleaded with the Premier League to provide financial aid to prevent English Football League (EFL) clubs from going bust due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown.
Fourth-tier League Two clubs in England unanimously voted this month to end their season, while third-tier League One clubs are set to make a decision this week. An unweighted points-per-game formula could determine the final standings.
With promotion still a real possibility, Peterborough are one of many League One clubs not in favour of voiding the season and Fry said a financial package would help support the English football pyramid.
“I’m very frustrated, disappointed and amazed that the Premier League haven’t come in with the financial package to help all teams in the EFL.
“The big problem… why most clubs don’t want to play is because the testing will cost a fortune, putting up games in empty stadiums will cost a fortune.
“That’s why I plead, I beg and I pray the Premier League will come and help us out in some way, shape or form, by donation,” Fry told Sky Sports.
Huddersfield Town owner Phil Hodgkinson said up to 60 lower league clubs could go out of business if the sport fails to plan for the impact of COVID-19 beyond the current season, a view shared by Fry.
“Those clubs up and down the country are so important … they’re the life and soul of the communities, we can’t lose them.
“I cannot understand why the Premier League haven’t done anything about it. If we’re not careful, I can see the whole of football collapsing. Then if the Premier League and the PFA do something about it, it will be too late,” Fry said.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Salif Atojoko (NAN)
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