The Premier League looks all but certain to return on June 17, though the possibility of still having to cut it short is likely to prove a ‘significant’ obstacle to securing an overall agreement.
Top-flight clubs unanimously voted to restart the season at a meeting last week, with Man City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United set to get the action underway on June 17, before a full round of fixtures on the weekend beginning June 19, all which are set to be shown live on UK television.
While clubs and fans are hoping to see the remaining 92 Premier League fixtures played out without a hitch, the prospect of a second spike in the transmission of the virus leaves the threat of curtailment still hanging over the campaign.
So far, clubs have remained united in their desire to play out the season, though the prospect of the season being ended early is where that unity has ended, the division’s struggling sides consistently resisting against determining the final placings using a points-per-game system.
According to the Telegraph, the prospect of curtailment is still set to be ‘the most significant remaining challenge to Project Restart’, with the relegation-threatened sides still ‘expected to oppose’ such a calculation, with Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow recently admitting relegation would be a ‘£200m catastrophe’
The Telegraph report adds that while ‘there is no vote yet proposed’ ahead of this Thursday’s weekly meeting, there is a belief that there needs to be an agreement before the action gets underway in just over two weeks time.
Premier League protocol means that any vote requires a majority of 14 to six in order for a resolution to pass, which could make any vote particularly close considering there are six clubs separated by just eight points at the foot of the table, while 13th placed Southampton are only seven points clear of the drop zone.
The FA have made it clear that relegation must take place, while their also remains a threat of a legal challenge from leading Championship clubs if they were to be denied promotion, with apparently ‘no appetite’ for an expanded top flight next season.
Meanwhile, the Premier League confirmed on Saturday that the latest round of 1,130 Coronavirus tests from across the division produced no positive test results for the first time that mass testing was rolled out last week.