Premier League stance and UEFA plans after Boris Johnson's lockdown update


Boris Johnson has confirmed that as of Thursday November 5, England will go into a national lockdown, following a significant rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

The Prime Minister announced a new set of guidelines that closely resemble the lockdown that the country was forced into earlier this year.

In March, Premier League bosses took the unprecedented decision to suspend the league season, with the EFL and the rest of the footballing pyramid following suit.

After intense negotiations, Project Restart signalled the resumption of the top two divisions after a three-month absence, with Liverpool going on to wrap up their first title in 30 years.

But with new restrictions set to come into effect by the end of the week, Mirror Sport have looked at some of the key issues surrounding the ongoing campaign.

What did Boris Johnson say about sport in latest lockdown announcement?

Boris Johnson confirmed a national lockdown will begin on November 5

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During the delayed news conference Johnson gave a thumbs up and said “Yes to the Premier League”, when the question of the season resuming was asked.

Shortly after the televised press conference, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden went into more detail on the impact the new guidelines would have on elite sport.

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“The changes mean people should WFH (work from home) where possible,” he posted on social media. “But where this is not possible, travel to a place of work will be permitted – e.g. this includes (but not exhaustive) elite sport played behind closed doors, film & tv production, telecoms workers.”

It means that in the immediacy at least, elite sport will continue as it has since Project Restart in June, with games being played behind-closed-doors under strict Covid friendly guidelines.

What will change?

For now, not a great deal. The restrictions still allow travel for work in the United Kingdom, meaning teams can make journeys for away fixtures.

Teams should also be allowed to stay overnight before fixtures, as overnight stays away from home are allowed for work trips.

It does however mean that the idea of spectators returning to stadiums in the near future appears very unlikely. Petitions had been signed in order for the government to potentially change their minds, but that is likely to be pushed back until 2021 at the earliest.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters is confident fixtures will be able to continue

Meanwhile, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters believes the top flight is well prepared to continue during a second lockdown.

Strict testing measures are already in place, with thousands of Covid-19 swabs carried out each week for players and club staff.

Masters recently said: “We don’t feel the closed doors model is at risk at the moment.

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“We think we’ve got a proven model that worked in Project Restart, and at the moment we’re happy, and so are government, that we can continue.”

What will happen if the Premier League season can’t continue?

Liverpool won the title last season, after the decision was made to continue the season

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Should the situation change and football is forced to be halted again, it is understood that there are plan to null and void the 2020/21 season.

BBC Sport reported in September that the 20 top-flight clubs were set to vote on protocols in the event of another suspension this season. Rules were written for such a scenario back in August, but more votes will be required before a final decision is made.

First of all, clubs will need to decide how many matches need to be played in order for the campaign to be played to completion and not declared null and void. It is believed that figure stands at around two thirds, meaning around 25 matches will need to be completed for the season to not be made void.

The 25th game week of the Premier League season in 2020/21 is set for the weekend of February 20, while the 28th game week occurs in mid-March.

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What’s the latest on the Champions League and Europa League?

England isn’t the only country to impose a new period of lockdown, with Germany and France both implementing similar models in the last week.

UEFA have extended the deadline for group stage matches until January 28, with clubs being told that they have until then to complete their fixtures as a last resort.

International travel will be banned under the new rules – with the exception of work, meaning teams involved in the two major European competitions should be able to make journeys.

UEFA competitions were also halted last season, before they were decided in host venues across Europe

This may become more complicated if certain countries introduce new restrictions on movements across the continent.

If clubs are unable to host games due to restrictions then they must look for a neutral venue in which their matches can take place and pick up the costs of any switch.

Should a club not be able to find an alternative venue, they will forefeit the fixture 3-0.

If the group stage is unable to be completed by the new January deadline, then UEFA‘s executive committee will decide which clubs qualify from the group stages.





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