Premier League Announces Season Will Resume June 17 Amid COVID-19

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

Liverpool's Sadio Mane reacts after having a goal disallowed during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and West Ham at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

The Premier League announced Thursday that play would resume June 17 "provided that all safety requirements are in place," ending a three-month hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans won't be allowed in attendance when matches restart.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters provided a statement about the decision:

"Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

"Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.

"We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season."

The Premier League shut down play in mid-March, around the same time that other European football leagues, such as La Liga, the Bundesliga and Serie A, and sports leagues in general around the globe, such as the NBA and NHL, halted play. Not long after, the UEFA Euro 2020 was postponed until 2021, and the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues were also suspended.

There were major questions as to how a return to play would function. One thing that wasn't up for debate was which team would win the title. Liverpool (82 points) hold an absurd 25-point lead over Manchester City after 29 matches.

City could make up the difference if they win every game and Liverpool lose basically all of their remaining matches. Practically speaking, however, the Reds have already wrapped up the title.

The more interesting aspect going forward is the Champions League berths and relegation battle. City's two-year Champions League ban means that the Premier League's final place for Europe's premier club competition next season will be given to the team in fifth place. Five teams are within five points of one another for the final berth—Manchester United (45 points), Wolverhampton Wanderers (43), Sheffield United (43), Tottenham Hotspur (41) and Arsenal (40).

Norwich City (21 points) and Aston Villa (25 points) make up the bottom two, meanwhile, with Bournemouth, Watford and West Ham United all on 27 points and trying to avoid being the third relegated side.