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Premier League restart: Neutral venues, registering new players on agenda for upcoming meetings

Increased substitutions, the relegation issue, neutral venues and VAR among topics to be discussed at June 4 and 11 meetings

Project Restart composite

Premier League clubs will meet again on Thursday as they step up preparations for the proposed restart on June 17.

The latest shareholders meeting will take place on June 4, with another scheduled for June 11, before the top flight provisionally returns with midweek games between Aston Villa and Sheffield United, and Manchester City versus Arsenal.

The latest round of coronavirus testing revealed just one positive case from 1,197 tests but there remains plenty to discuss as the kick-off looms.

Neutral venues

Wembley could stage games behind closed doors in an attempt to finish the 2019/20 season
Image: Wembley could stage games behind closed doors in an attempt to finish the 2019/20 season

The national lead for football policing said last week that up to six games could be played at neutral venues, with that issue to be discussed between the clubs.

The fixtures set to be moved to neutral venues are Manchester City vs Liverpool, Manchester City vs Newcastle, Manchester United vs Sheffield United, Newcastle vs Liverpool, Everton vs Liverpool, and the game in which Liverpool could secure the title.

But the Premier League and the clubs want as many games as possible to be played home and away where possible and the current list of matches that could potentially be played at neutral venues remains under daily review by police.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "It's our preference to play the games where they were originally planned home and away but there are some concerns. We'll have a clearer picture in the next seven to 10 days but we hope the amount of games will be low.

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"They (the police) have legitimate concerns but we think we can mitigate some of the issues they're trying to deal with. Ultimately we want the season to be played out on the pitch and we're discussing a number of options to make it as fair as possible."

Neutral venues - who decides? Read more here

Registering new players

Aston Villa 'keeper Tom Heaton expects a febrile atmosphere against Wolves
Image: Aston Villa 'keeper Tom Heaton could be re-registered to play for in the season run-in

Registering new players to 25-man squads will be on the agenda for Premier League clubs to discuss at the two upcoming shareholders meetings ahead of the proposed restart on June 17.

Some clubs want to be allowed to add players to the lists they submitted in February for the second half of the season, as some of those squad lists omitted players with long-term injuries, who have now recovered.

Among those that could feature are Aston Villa's Tom Heaton and Newcastle's Paul Dummett.

There could also be players returning from both domestic and international loans if new agreements are not reached, but changing squads at this stage of the season could give some clubs an unfair advantage.

Increased substitutions

FIFA and IFAB have said teams will be able to use five substitutes instead of three when the season restarts, but some clubs believe that would give an unfair advantage to the richer ones perceived to have stronger squads.

Chelsea are also proposing that clubs should be allowed to name nine substitutes instead of seven for the rest of the season.

Aymeric Laporte was substituted at half-time for Nicolas Otamendi
Image: An increased amount of substitutes and substitutions will also be discussed

The relegation problem

The Premier League is recommending that league placings be determined by a simple points-per-game (PPG) formula if the season is curtailed, and most of the clubs in the bottom half of the table would prefer relegation to be scrapped if the season was curtailed.

The FA has said they would not allow that, and the EFL has threatened to sue if there is no relegation and promotion between the Premier League and the Championship.


FIFA has given leagues the option of scrapping VAR when seasons restart but the Premier League wants to keep it.

Clubs believe the integrity of the competition would be compromised if VAR was not used for the entire season.

Fourteen clubs have to vote in favour for a new rule to be made.

PL clubs allowed friendlies before restart

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa gets past the tackle from Marc Albrighton of Leicester City
Image: The dressing rooms will not be used during the friendly matches

Clubs have been given the go-ahead to take part in friendly matches ahead of the planned resumption of the Premier League.

But venues must be no more than 90 minutes away and players must travel in their own cars to and from fixtures while wearing the kit they will play in.

PGMOL referees and assistants are yet to be tested for COVID-19 so, for now, club coaching staff will referee matches.

It's hoped that the country's top referees will be available to officiate in the week before the planned return to match action on June 17.

If held at a stadium, players will enter via the players' entrance and walk straight onto the pitch, before warming up. Dressing rooms will not be used.

Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games. In addition to the 39 matches scheduled to be broadcast on Sky before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel.

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