PREMIER LEAGUE PLAN FOR 92 MATCHES IN JUST 39 DAYS

The Premier League will return with a crunch double-header on Wednesday, June 17.

The opening games of Project Restart will see Manchester City take on Arsenal and Aston Villa face Sheffield United behind-closed doors in less than three weeks.

After weeks of uncertainty, a return date was finally decided at Thursday’s shareholders meeting, while a raft of significant proposals were also raised. 

There proposals include:  

  • In the event of a Covid-19 outbreak at a club, teams may be required to play with just 15 available players
  • The final date of the Premier League season has been earmarked for the weekend of July 25-26
  • For top clubs to pay more of the proposed £330million broadcast rebate, though the payment could be halved if the season is completed by end of July
  • Saturday and Sundays will see four games per day, which will be televised. There will be one match on Friday and Monday night
  • If the season is curtailed, standings to be decided by an unweighted points-per-game system
  • For games to be played as normal at home and away venues – but some ‘high-risk’ fixtures to take place at neutral venues.

If the season runs according to schedule, the FA Cup final has been pencilled in to take place at Wembley Stadium on August 1.

The quarter and semi-finals will be played during the Premier League season.

If the five-and-a-half week timetable runs without delay, all remaining 92 games will be played in just 39 days.

One source at a Premier League club told Sportsmail that proposals for clubs to fulfil fixtures with as many as 10 unavailable players shouldn’t cause a problem with the vast majority of clubs now willing to play.

Discussions on how to minimise the proposed £340million broadcast rebate was high on Thursday’s agenda.

Enhancements to the broadcasting product, such as half-time interviews, crowd noise and dressing room cameras have been explored in an attempt to reduce the payment.

It is understood the rebate could be slashed to as little as £170million if the Premier League meet their target of playing the final game by the end of July.

Some matches will also be free-to-air; the BBC confirmed on Thursday that they will show four Premier League games.

On Saturday and Sundays matches are scheduled for 12.30pm, 3pm, 5.30pm and 8pm, with games being broadcast back-to-back.

Midweek matches will kick off at 6pm and 8pm. Sky Sports confirmed on Thursday night that 25 of the 64 games they will televise will be free-to-air.

BT Sport and Amazon Prime will show the remaining 28 games.

While not required to, the bigger clubs – who have earned more for broadcasting revenue – have agreed to pay a bigger portion of the broadcasters rebate in a show of solidarity to the smaller clubs.