The government of the United Kingdom has given the English Premier League clearance to resume its season in empty stadiums on June 1.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a 50-page document that includes a provision allowing for soccer and other events to begin play. The document specifically permits “cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact” starting on June 1.
It will still be quite some time before fans will be allowed through the gates. The document says spectators “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”
This doesn’t mean that the league will, in fact, resume its season on June 1. The 20 Premier League clubs still need to approve a restart and they expect to hold a vote some time this week. The option remains to use neutral venues for the remaining 92 games on the schedule, but several clubs have opposed that idea.
The Premier League season has been on hold since March 13 and has until May 25 to submit a detailed plan to UEFA on how they will resume matches.
Elsewhere in Europe, the German Bundesliga is resuming its season on Saturday. The Bundesliga will be the first major league to return to action since the COVID-19 outbreak. France cancelled the remainder of its 2019-20 season while declaring the entire campaign null and void. Italy and Spain are both hoping to complete their seasons, but have not given any indication on when they will do so.