Timeline for return of football revealed - these are the key dates
- Credit: Archant
As Arsenal today became the first professional club in England to re-open their training ground to allow players to train individually during the coronavirus pandemic, the timeline for football to return has been revealed in national newspaper reports - here it is.
While Ipswich Town players can’t return to training until May 16 at the earliest under EFL guidelines, The Times claims a cross-sports working group is preparing a report on how football and other sports can safely return to action in the summer.
According to the report, the Premier League will resume in early June, after a three-week mini pre-season to allow players to get back up to speed.
The Times also claim that the remaining 92 games are likely to be played at a limited number of neutral venues across the country, that are deemed safe and can be effectively policed.
While the report only discusses the Premier League, it will clearly have knock-on implications for Ipswich Town and the rest of the EFL.
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Town have eight games left to play, with EFL boss Rick Parry previously saying that the league could finish its seasons in 56 days, including play-ofs.
In every scenario, games are almost certain to be played behind closed doors.
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Here are the key dates in the return to football plan...
- Monday, April 27: Arsenal are the first side to return to training. Players train individually.
- Thursday, May 7: Potential relaxation of government lockdown restrictions.
- Monday, May 18 - Sunday, June 7: Premier League clubs return to training while adhering to strict social distancing measures with a three-week window for a mini pre-season before matches.
- Monday, June 8 - Monday, July 27: Matches resume behind closed doors with aim to complete the outstanding 92 games in an eight-week period. Seven outstanding FA Cup ties could be completed within this window.
- Monday, August 3 - Friday, August 21: After a one-week break, players return for pre-season lasting between one and four weeks ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
- Saturday, August 22: New 2020/21 Premier League season kicks off with European and domestic cup competitions planned as normal.
- Saturday, September 12: Latest possible start for 2020-2021 season, but could mean shorter league and cup programmes.