Premier League Project Restart: Return date, confirmed TV fixtures schedule for EPL, FA Cup, Champions League

ALEX YOUNG
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Premier League clubs are working towards a restart as the whole sport battles with the coronavirus pandemic.

Elite football in England has been on pause since mid-March, with both the Champions League and Europa League following suit soon after.

Liverpool are waiting to be crowned Premier League champions for the first time, next season's European competitors must be decided and the relegation picture is far from clear.

Uefa are allowing all domestic seasons to decide their own fate, but remain hopeful of concluding both continental competitions over the summer.

Here's how both the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League hope to finish the season...

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Training return

Premier League clubs voted unanimously for contact training to return, with clubs beginning 'Phase Two' from May 28 onwards.

Government guidelines on contact training stress the need for "meticulous, time and date sensitive, written records of player groups and interactions" to be kept to enable effective tracing should an individual test positive.

Further progress was made with the third round of coronavirus testing, results of which were confirmed don May 30, which saw zero positive test results.

However, following the fifth round of tests of 1197 players and staff, Tottenham confirmed on June 3 that they had received one positive result back.

It is expected that twice-weekly testing will continue rather than be ramped up further, and the proposals will include what to do in the event of a positive test once contact training has restarted.

Premier League return

Clubs have agreed to return to action on June 17, beginning with the two outstanding matchday 29 games.

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United - at 6pm - and Manchester City vs Arsenal - at 8pm - will restart the season, bringing all 20 top-flight teams to nine games remaining.

All games set to be played behind closed doors, football bosses want fans to have access to every game. As such, no two matches will be played simultaneously in what has been dubbed a 'World Cup-style' event.​

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the return of the Premier League "would lift the spirits of the nation" and confirmed that a behind-closed-doors return is under "active consideration" by the government.

A YouGov poll released on May 12 revealed that almost three-quarters of people would not be buoyed by the return of elite football, with just 19% "pleased" at the prospect.

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TV coverage

The remaining 92 games of the season will all be broadcast live on TV, with Amazon Prime and BBC winning rights along with regular broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport.

BBC will broadcast four games, for the first time in history, adding to a further 25 from Sky Sports to be shown free-to-air. Amazon will also show their four games for free, without the need of a subscription.

Wednesday June 17

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United Sky Sports 6pm
Man City vs Arsenal Sky Sports 8.15pm

Friday June 19

Norwich vs Southampton Sky Sports/Pick 6pm
Tottenham vs Man Utd Sky Sports 8:15pm

Saturday June 20

Watford vs Leicester BT Sport 12:30pm
Brighton vs Arsenal BT Sport 3pm
West Ham vs Wolves Sky Sports 5:30pm
Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace BBC 7:45pm

Sunday June 21

Newcastle vs Sheffield United Sky Sports/Pick 2pm
Aston Villa vs Chelsea Sky Sports 4:15pm
Everton vs Liverpool Sky Sports/Pick 7pm

Monday June 22

Man City vs Burnley Sky Sports 8pm

Domestic and international broadcasters are demanding a rebate of roughly £340million, but there is optimism that the balance could be offset by a number of creative measures for screening matches, such as cameras in dressing rooms.

Plans are for up to a minute of footage to be aired from changing rooms pre-match, at half-time and post-match, although the latter would only be for the winning team.

Among other plans were for managers to wear microphones on match days, but fears over unsuitable language and the threat of sanctions towards managers mean that idea has been scrapped, so, too, constant filming of the dugout and technical areas.

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FA Cup

Following hot on the heels of the Premier League's confirmed fixtures, the FA announced TV details for the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Norwich City take on Manchester United at 5.30pm on June 27, live on BBC One.

It's a triple bill on Sunday, June 28, kicking off with Sheffield United vs Arsenal at 1pm on BT Sport. Then Leicester host Chelsea at 4pm, also on BT Sport. It's back to BBC for Newcastle vs holders Man City at 6:30pm.

The semi-finals will take place across the weekend of July 18-19, with the final on August 1.

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Champions League

There are 17 fixtures left in this season's Champions League campaign, with Uefa reportedly considering playing matches every three days during August.

European football's governing body reportedly hopes to resume the Champions League and Europa League knockout stages on August 7.

Games would then be played twice a week, with the semi-finals held between August 18 and 22 before the final is hosted on August 29 in Istanbul.

The next Champions League season would then start in September after a short break.

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Championship, League One and Two

The Championship season will resume on June 20.

Relegation will be retained in all three divisions of the EFL should the season not be completed, under proposals to be voted through this month. Having consulted clubs on proposals first laid out earlier this month, the EFL are pressing ahead with plans to vote through a regulation change on June 8.

Decisions on curtailment will be taken by each individual division, meaning the vote should allow League Two to press ahead with finalising the standings for their season, after a majority of clubs pushed to cut short the current season.

League Two clubs had moved to abolish relegation, but so long as the National League give notice that they will start the next season and, thus, those relegated will have somewhere to play, it will be maintained in order to preserve the integrity of the sport.

No decision has yet been made on curtailment in League One.