English Premier League soccer has been approved by the UK government to return to the field in a matter of weeks. A 50-page document dubbed “Our Plan To Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy,” mentions that sporting events like the EPL may be permitted for broadcast behind closed doors in order to ensure public safety.
Should conditions be met, the league could resume on June 1. According to ESPN, the EPL and other major governing bodies for UK sports will receive the full details of the government’s proposal by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. Games will reportedly only be allowed to resume on the basis that governing bodies can carve out a plan that sees agreement from political officials and health experts.
Clubs have been allowed back on training grounds under mandated social distancing measures. Up until now, there has been little direction as to how the season might resume following its suspension on March 13. Fans will likely only be able to catch games via broadcasts as the report delves into mass gatherings and the prospect of allowing some spectators inside.
“Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to reopen safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part,” the report states. The possibility of admitting fans may not occur until “significantly later” depending on how the number of cases trends.
Clubs are said to be split over restarting, though a majority 14 of the 20 in the league is required to pass any decision.
English soccer fans may only be weeks away from witnessing games again while Germany’s Bundesliga will be the first of Europe’s major leagues to resume play when clubs hit the field this weekend.