There has been a sense, albeit a very small one, that things are just starting to creep back towards normality.
Of course, for many it will be the return of live sport that brings about the most exciting turn of events, and hundreds of millions of people around the world are eagerly anticipating the English Premier League season being played out to its natural conclusion.
And there may just be some good news on that front.
Premier League officials have confirmed they have been in talks with the government about a potential return, and a date of June 9 has been pencilled for the resumption of the campaign via behind closed doors matches.
Indeed, some clubs – Arsenal and West Ham among them – have opened their training facilities for players to work out on an individual basis.
A series of rulings have been drawn up that would potentially change how games are played, to some extent, while the dossier reports that for a behind closed doors game to be played safely there would need to be 300 people present at the stadium.
Here’s everything we know so far about the Premier League’s scheduled June 9 return.
Premier League Behind Closed Doors: How, Who, Where and When?
The ambition is for the Premier League fixture list to be played out in full, with a June 9 start and a probable conclusion in late July.
There will be weekend matches as usual and an array of midweek fixtures too, with all games behind closed doors and many broadcast live on Sky Sports and BT Sport – there are talks of making some of these free-to-air.
The home team will honour their hosting at their own ground, and 300 people will be allowed inside the stadium. These will include:
|Players||20 per team|
|Coaching/Medical Staff||16 per team|
|Other Club Staff||TBC|
|Media||130 for live matches|
|Other Match Day Staff||up to 50|
And this will be popular with many fans: VAR may be suspended until next season! The three-person team at Stockley Park that oversees the video system may not be able to distance themselves socially, and so VAR may be scrapped until 2020/21.
Premier League Gives Green Light to Five Substitutions Per Game
Should the action resume in early June, the Premier League players will be asked to play a lot of matches in a very short space of time.
And the enforced break will have meant that top-flight stars have lost their match fitness – without a period of friendlies to get back up to speed.
As a way of combating that, the Premier League are reportedly happy to sign-off on a new temporary rule that would allow managers to make up to five substitutions per game, rather than the normal three.
It would enable them to minimise the risk of muscle injuries in fatigued players, and ensure that squads are able to cope with the rigours likely to be pressed upon them.
Spitting Images: Premier League Aims to Put Players Health First
One of the things we don’t know about the Premier League’s plan is testing: who will be tested prior to a match?
One of the more left-field rule changes could see spitting on the pitch punishable with a yellow card in a policy proposed by FIFA’s chief medical officer.
Players will also be asked to adhere to a number of policies in terms of looking after their own health and the wellbeing of their teammates and opponents, too.