English Premier League Gets Green Light To Play Soccer
With hopes of creating a safe and measured plan to ease restriction, the United Kingdom announces a cautious roadmap. Will Major League Soccer (MLS) follow behind?
Without soccer fans watching from their stadium seats, the English Premier League (EPL) is planning on restarting the soccer season behind closed doors beginning the second week of June.
This is great news for soccer fans. England is clearly joining Germany is their effort to resume professional soccer.
There are strict protocols in place which must be maintained and there is resistance from a few clubs. There are several EPL teams that oppose the plan to restart the season in June at neutral venues and want to sterilize their stadiums and play at home.
According to The Telegraph, “Project Restart” will be discussed at the upcoming EPL and on May 18th, the 20 EPL clubs will meet to vote. 14 of 20 EPL clubs need to accept the plan for it to be put into effect.
The UK has released the Government’s roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis. “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy,” a 50-page document outlining the protocols for restarting business including televised sporting events as long as required guidelines to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 can be met. This is a 3-step plan to ease restrictions in England.
How will this impact youth soccer? At the moment, the easing of restrictions does not apply to recreational or youth soccer and outside of the EPL, team sports are still prohibited in England.
“You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.”
Although the UK’s government’s document states, “Venues that attract large crowds (like sports stadia) may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections,” it is clear that soccer without cheering fans in the stadium is better than reruns of old matches.
In America, Major League Soccer (MLS) has announced no set date for resuming the soccer season, however, players are able to voluntarily train with their clubs. It is too soon to tell if the EPL push ahead to return to play will impact the MLS teams but it is a positive sign inspiring hope in the hearts of soccer fans.
Moving Towards a New Normal: Caution is Needed
The plan does remind everyone that “If the data suggests the virus is spreading again, the Government will have to tighten restrictions, possibly at short notice. The aim is to avoid this by moving gradually and by monitoring carefully the effect of each step the Government takes.”