The first professional league in Europe returned to our screens in April and luckily for UK football fans, BT Sport has been showing every game live. Megan Cotter looks at how the Premier League might look when it returns to our screens.
Ordinarily broadcasters aren’t allowed to show matches between 3pm and 5:15pm in order to protect attendances at home games, however with no matches for fans to attend in Britain at the moment, restrictions have been lifted.
During the pandemic, Germany has suffered just under 9,000 deaths in comparison to more than 40,000 deaths in the UK – a five-fold difference which is an obvious explanation for the German league returning before the Premier League.
There’s still been huge restrictions during the games such as only 300 personnel attending games (including players), no spitting, no handshakes, and players have been told to avoid celebrating in groups.
And the Bundesliga has received an increasing amount of views around the world but will this continue once the Premier League is back?
Superliga brings their fans back to the field via Zoom
A few weeks after Bundesliga’s return, neighbouring country Denmark also resumed the Superliga.
On their opening derby match, AGF welcomed Randers to the pitch and supporters were able to sign up for free tickets for the chance to watch from a ‘virtual stand’.
TV screens were placed in the stands at AGF’s Ceres Park Ground where fans joined a Zoom call and watched their favourite teams play again.
What should we expect when the Premier League returns?
Premier League football returns on Wednesday June 17 after a two-month absence as Sheffield United travel to Aston Villa and Manchester City host Arsenal.
Once these games have been played, all Premier League teams will have played 29 games of the 2019/20 season.
For Liverpool it will be a case of getting over the line to earn their first league title for more than 30 years but there is still much to play for in the European football and relegation stakes.
Players have been training with strict social distancing rules since May with the hope that the remaining fixtures of the season will be played. The FA Cup quarter-finals are also scheduled to take place on the weekend of June 27-28.
Some Premier League teams were able to hold training sessions at their grounds last week and even full friendlies in order for players to adjust to their new environment for the rest of the season; silent stands and a strict order of social distancing.
There has been some concern over the limited preparation time the players have had before the resumption and worries over injuries, however the league has introduced a couple of rules which may help.
Teams will be able to name nine substitutes instead of seven and can now make five replacements instead of three. There will still only be three opportunities to make changes to avoid disruption throughout the match.
Given there will be no fans in the stadium, around 300 personnel at the matches and a few new rules for the remainder of the season, it will be a very different game of football than we’re all used to watching.
Having no fans present will certainly diminish the home advantage and players may find it difficult to adjust to a silent stadium. It’ll be interesting to see whether we’ll be hearing more vocals from the players, managers, coaches and referees now that their voices won’t be masked under the screaming crowds.
I think we can all agree that the prospect of a Premier League restart is tantalising and we’ll never take watching a live professional football game on TV for granted ever again.
First week Premier League fixtures:
Wednesday 17th June
6pm – Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United – Sky Sports
8:15pm – Manchester City vs. Arsenal – Sky Sports
Friday 19th June
6pm – Norwich City vs. Southampton – Sky Sports
8:15pm – Spurs vs. Manchester City – Sky Sports
Saturday 20th June
12:30pm – Watford vs. Leicester City – BT Sport
3pm – Brighton vs. Arsenal – BT Sport
5:30pm – West Ham vs. Wolves – Sky Sports
7:45pm – AFC Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace – BBC Sport
Follow Megan on Twitter at @megcotterx