EPL Expected to Return to League Behind Closed Doors

15 April 2020

Fans and players alike, are waiting in anticipation for the return of the EPL, with many clubs believing that their games will be played behind closed doors when it does (or if it does) eventually return. Richard Garlick, the Premier League’s director of football and Mark Gillet, the league’s medical advisor, is currently in talks with officials over player safety and what those players can expect if the competitive action resumes.

Should the league request a come-back, the FA has already offered Wembley and St George’s Park to host the remaining competition, which would become known as the ‘Festival of Football’. Of the two, St George’s Park is a firm favourite what with the facility being able to host many games on the same day and players could benefit from the use of the 228-room hotel on the grounds, to stop unnecessary travelling.

Playing games behind closed doors may not be a popular choice with the fans, but it’s a safe one and after all, a Premier League is better than no Premier League. The news comes as more clubs are expected to announce wage deferrals and wage cuts.

However, David Moyes, the West Ham manager has voiced his concerns over the planned proposals, saying that a rushed Premier League return will only put players at risk of injury. As Covid-19 spreads and the UK, Europe, and the US in lockdown, the Premier League officials are still wondering how to finish the campaign, but it’s estimated that clubs would need to play three games a week in order to achieve this – and that’s a big ask, especially given that they’ve all spent a month at home with no real fitness training.

Moyes said in an interview: “I think that four weeks would be ideal. But I think three weeks will be the maximum we get. Everybody’s now talking about the injuries we’re liable to pick up either during the three-week preparation time or during the period where it looks like we’ll have to play an awful lot of games in a short period of time.”

Eat, Sleep, Football Repeats

Football and horse racing make up 75% of the UK sports betting market, and with both suspended, it’s safe to say that the sports betting industry is being hit hard. Michael Dugher, chief executive of industry body the Betting and Gaming Council said: “Levels of gambling have plummeted not just because of betting shop closures but because of the absence of sport, which is fundamental to online betting.”

Life without football can be pretty miserable for devoted fans, which is why the English broadcasting channel known as ITV is hosting the entire Euro 1996 competition for free, including England’s historic semi-final run. Paul Mortimer, Head of Digital Channels & Acquisitions, ITV said:

“Nothing brings the country together like Euro fever, and with this year’s tournament postponed to 2021, we’re giving our audience a chance to relive one of the all-time great sporting events, Euro ’96. Thanks to the ITV Hub and ITV4, there’ll be no shortage of vintage football classics for fans to indulge in over the next few months.”