The Premier League will once again meet with shareholders, including representatives from Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Spurs and West Ham, on Monday as they look to continue planning Project Restart and the return of the season. The top-flight has now been out of action for the best part of two months due to the coronavirus pandemic and league bosses are hoping Monday’s meeting will take us closer to its return. But what is on the agenda? And what do you need to know about the much talked about meeting?
The government announcement
Before the Premier League meeting takes place, we will get the latest from the UK government on Sunday evening. PM Boris Johnson will address the nation, detailing the latest changes, if any, to the current lockdown restrictions. Sunday’s message from the PM isn’t likely to significantly impact the Premier League’s planning unless something rather unexpected happens with changes expected to be minimal for the time being.
When is the meeting?
The Premier League’s next Project Restart meeting will take place on Monday, May 11, with each participant connecting via video conference. Who is attending? The meeting will be attended by representatives from each club, as well as Premier League decisionmakers. Will players and managers be involved in discussions? They will, but not at this point. The Premier League will meet with PFA representatives from each club, and they also plan to involve the League Managers Association. Those meetings will take place after Monday’s meeting is wrapped up, likely on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Are there any disagreements ?
Yes, it seems so. A number of the bottom clubs were reportedly very unhappy when it emerged the League threatened them with relegation should they block any vote on Project Restart. Clubs are ready to fight back against that. The range of views on what should happen is also said to remain pretty broad, leaving plenty of space for heated debate between club representatives.
Will a start date be announced? And what is actually being discussed?
There will no start date from Monday’s meeting. The discussions will largely focus on the next stage of Project Restart, which focuses on the return to training for players. Clubs have reportedly pencilled in a date of May 18 to return to training, and they are hoping to get a firm date from the meeting on Monday. A number of leagues, including La Liga and the MLS, have begun opening their training grounds for individual sessions. The Bundesliga is set to return to full action next week, but there will be no such sharp restart for the Premier League. Officials feel it is ‘too soon’ to discuss any sort of date to resume the season.
Will there be a vote?
We like to imagine a hand-up-vote on a return to action taking place between clubs, but this meeting is more likely to be a collective discussion. The League are hoping to have a collective agreement on the next phase of Project Restart. The Premier League are usually reluctant to force votes on any major issues with a minimum of 14 clubs needed to pass any vote.
Can the FA step in?
The FA do have powers on major issues concerning the Premier League under the Founder Members Agreement of 1991. England’s governing body can ‘exercise a vote on certain specific issues’ under the rules, but they are very unlikely to do so. It would take something alarming for the FA to intervene on something the Premier League and the majority of its clubs have agreed on.
The key dates
After Monday’s big meeting, the next key date is Thursday, May 14. That’s when English football’s top administrators will hold talks with the government. Before then, across Tuesday and Wednesday, the league are expected to hold talks with players and managers. On May 18 – a week before UEFA has asked every top European league to provide an update on their plans – the Premier League will meet with clubs again. That meeting is likely to cover a proposed date and format. Nine days later on May 27, UEFA’s top brass will announce a decision on the Champions League and Europa League, announcing whether the competitions will finish and – if they are to go ahead – just how they hope to achieve it.
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