The UK government has announced that professional sport in England will not be allowed to take place even behind closed doors until June 1 at the earliest.
The Premier League has been out of action since March 9 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but plans remain in place to restart the current campaign next month following the slight easing of lockdown measures on Sunday.
As of Wednesday, the amount of exercise allowed per day in England will become unlimited, while more people have been encouraged to go back to work.
Today, a 50-page document has been published by the government, explaining in further detail how England will continue to gradually come out lockdown.
The second step of these plans involve ‘permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact.’
Premier League clubs will meet again today to continue discussions about ‘Project Restart,’ after a third unnamed Brighton & Hove Albion player was revealed to have contracted coronavirus on Sunday.
Project Restart, if accepted by a big enough majority of the 20 Premier League clubs, would see the remaining 92 fixtures played out across about ten neutral venues.
Meanwhile, it is less clear when fans can expect to return to stadiums, with no sign of a vaccine for COVID-19, which at time of writing almost 32,000 people in the UK have died with.
Step three of the government’s plans include the possible reopening of venues like cinemas and hairdressers no earlier than July 4 but warns that opening of sports stadia “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”
The remainder of the campaign in Leagues One and Two are set to be scrapped, following all English football below the fourth tier, while the future of the Championship season remains unknown.
Everton, whose own ground, Goodison Park, is not believed to be under consideration as a possible neutral venue, have nine games left to play in 2019-20, and currently sit 12th in the Premier League.