Premier League set for June 17 return with 29 games to be shown free to air
28 May 2020 08:23 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Live football in England has taken a huge step forward with the announcement that the Premier League will return on Wednesday 17th June subject to government approval. The first two games will be Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal, the two outstanding fixtures from the last round of games. A full round of fixtures will be played a few days later on the weekend of 19th June. Finishing the season will take six weekends and three midweek rounds with matches being played Friday (20.00), Saturday (12:30, 15:00, 17:30, 20:00), Sunday (12:00, 14:00, 16:30, 19:00), Monday (20:00) and Thursday, Wednesdays and Tuesdays (18:00, 20:00).
All matches will be screened live on Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport or Amazon Prime. With 92 matches remaining in the season that’s plenty of football to watch and a third of them will be free to air! Sky Sports will screen 64 games, of which 25 will be broadcast on Freeview. The BBC will also broadcast a further 4 games free to air. It will be the first time ever, since the Premier League was founded back in 1992 that the BBC has screened a live Premier League game. Of the remaining fixtures 20 will be screened on BT Sport and 4 on Amazon Prime.
The move is a good sign for the Championship who are currently around a week behind the Premier League with regards to returning to training. The Telegraph reported that the EFL sent the phase two return to training protocols to Championship clubs on Thursday with a decision likely to be made on Monday regarding a return to contact training. It is understood the majority of the 24 Championship clubs are in favour of finishing the season and will agree to the proposals. This would give clubs at three weeks full training ahead of a possible restart to the campaign on either 19th or the 26th of June.
The majority of games will be played behind closed doors at home and away grounds but some key games will be played at neutral venues at the request of the police. These will include derby games, including big London matches and any games where there is the possibility of Liverpool lifting the title at home. If Arsenal Beat Man City first up then Liverpool could clinch the title against Everton on the first full weekend of fixtures free to air on Sky Sports.
Both Championship and Premier League players and staff are being tested for coronavirus twice a week and so far, infection rates have been low. So far 12 people have tested positive for the virus after over 2,700 tests across the Premier League. Just over 1,000 players and staff have been tested this week with three positive results, including Blackburn captain Elliott Bennett and two unnamed Fulham players. Two individuals from Hull City tested positive on Sunday following last weeks round of testing. The results so far are encouraging but there was a stark reminder of the risks involved today as it was announced Aston Villa manager, Dean Smith's father had died from the virus.
If Championship clubs do agree a return to contact training next week, announcing a date for the return of live games should not be too far behind.