Project Restart could give Leeds the chance to get promotion done
Monday, 27th Apr 2020 21:51 by Tim Whelan
The government thinks the return of elite sport will help to lift the mood of the nation, and have started talks to decide when and how it can all begin.
The Times have reported that a cross-sports working group, also involving cricket, rugby and horse racing, is preparing a report on how top sports can resume safely this summer, and talks will also include the government and representatives from the chief medical officer’s team is also being planned.
Stand-in Prime Minister Dominic Raab has already said that although a mass return to grass roots sport is a long way off, elite clubs could be treated differently because they have the resources needed to ensure all their players could be tested. And a source close to the process told the BBC there has been a definite "quickening of the pace" as the talks have progressed.
And Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in Parliament that he has been in contact with clubs about restarting the Premier League "as soon as possible". "I personally have been in talks with the Premier League with a view to getting football up and running as soon as possible in order to support the whole football community. But, of course, any such moves would have to be consistent with public health guidance."
The Premier League are currently planning to resume in early June after a three-week “pre-season” for training and 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. The seven outstanding FA Cup ties could be completed within this window.
It’s likely that as fans won’t be able to watch the game in person they will all be made available for on-line streaming and some could even be screened on free-to-air TV. But the top games will surely be on Sky, as one of the reasons the Premier League is so keen to finish the season is to avoid having to give them a massive refund. Another is that UEFA has said that they will only accept qualifiers for next season’s club competitions who have got there on merit, so no null and void seasons.
And EFL source confirmed to ‘Football Insider’ that they are also involved in the talks and their matches could begin as early as 6 June, two days before the proposed relaunch of the Premier League. If all goes well the new Premier League will begin on Saturday, August 22 after a break of only one week between the end of season 2019/20 and the start of training for the next.
So we can now be cautiously optimistic that Leeds will be in the Premier League when 2020/21 eventually starts. One disadvantage will be that we won’t have much time to improve our squad for the new campaign as we won’t be able to finalise our budget and identify which targets to go for until we know which division we’ll be in.
But we can worry about once promotion is achieved. And that will certainly lift the mood of the people of a certain part of West Yorkshire, if not in many other parts of the nation!
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