Premier League braced for second wave of virus as shutdown ends

The Premier League’s priority for now is staging the remaining 92 games by July 26, starting Wednesday with Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United and Manchester City playing Arsenal.

Premier League is set to resume after a 100-day shutdown.   -  Getty Images

With the Premier League set to resume after a 100-day shutdown, the organisers are already making plans to counter a second spike of coronavirus infections that would prevent games from going ahead yet again.

The league’s priority for now is staging the remaining 92 games by July 26, starting Wednesday with Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United and Manchester City playing Arsenal. There is even hope the government will allow fans back into stadium when the next season begins around September.

What the league is yet to resolve is securing an agreement with clubs on how to conclude the season — this one or in the future — if it cannot be completed.

“We will be going into next season with a clearer understanding of what is going to happen in various eventualities but everybody has learned an enormous amount which is going to help," Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said on Tuesday.

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“What we have learned is you have to be nimble and responsive and you have to have contingency plans. We know that there is a prospect of a second spike and we will be ready and anticipating of that in our planning and hoping to return to a full Premier League season.”

The league, like the rest of Britain, will be assessing the trajectory of COVID-19 cases and the rate of infection as lockdown measures have been eased.

The hope is that the relaxation of social distancing rules will eventually allow supporters to return to venues for the first time since March.

“There are embryonic cross-talk discussions going on at government level regarding going back to fans coming in to sports events generally and we would be a willing participant in all of that as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so,” Masters added.

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