Premier League CEO sends warning amidst UK’s move to localised lockdowns

Image: SpursWeb

Premier League CEO Richard Masters has warned clubs that the season might not be completed if there is a spike in coronavirus cases.

Project Restart has gone without too many hiccups so far, with the vast majority of players and staff at various clubs continuing to test negative for the virus.

Indications are that the bio-secure environments created at clubs’ training grounds and stadiums are helping stop the transmission of COVID-19.

The infection rates in the UK as a whole are also down with the government now moving away from a nation-wide lockdown into localised ones, with Leicester being the first city to be locked down after a spike in the number of cases (Sky News).

Masters insisted that the Premier League is prepared to handle with the situation at Leicester, with playing in neutral grounds being explored.

However, he warned that it might become impossible to complete the season if the same were to happen in multiple areas across the county.

When asked if another spike in cases could prevent the campaign from being completed, he said (as quoted by Lancs.Live): “There’s always that possibility, yes.

“We’re dependent on the course of the virus and the government’s decisions in response to that.

“Obviously we’re cautiously optimistic and what’s happened in Leicester overnight is something we’re responding to now.

“We’ve been planning for quite a long period of time to adapt to a neutral venues model if necessary for a variety of different reasons.

“I think we can clearly cope with the situation in Leicester.

“If it means the club can’t play its home games for the foreseeable future or just this weekend, we can adapt to that.

“But if that were to happen in multiple areas or the course of the virus creates other risks then obviously there’s that risk that we can’t complete the season.

“We’ve got to get through to the end of July, complete our 380 games and look cautiously optimistic to season 20/21 – set a start date, work with the other football bodies to create a calendar which works for all, then keep our fingers crossed that we can get fans back into the stadium and recover the economy.

“That’s the plan but, as you know, that’s all dependent on the course of the virus.

“We’ve shown our flexibility to that and have to operate within government guidelines.”

However, Masters insisted that Liverpool’s title will not be stripped away from them no matter what happens before the end of the season.

He added: “The Premier League clubs decided to deal with the issue of curtailment, what would have happened if the season wasn’t completed, and we left that to a discussion which would happen at a point if that was going to actually occur.

“We are optimistic we can finish the season, we’ll have to come to some sort of agreement about what model might be used going forward.

“What we’ve all learnt in terms of our risk register and forward planning is that we need to deal with these sorts of issues inside our rulebook.

“Liverpool are now champions, so we don’t have to worry about that.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Hopefully, we do not see the rates spiking too much for the next month and a half. The signs at the moment seem to be positive but one cannot rule out anything given that the nation-wide lockdown is set to be lifted.

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