Before Project Restart can fully commence there will be friendlies to play. Premier League Clubs will be allowed to arrange friendlies with each other but with strict rules and regulations (via John Percy of the Telegraph).
REPORT: Premier League to Sanction Friendlies Prior to Full Restart
There are four stipulations which Percy details:
- “Clubs are forbidden from travelling for further than 90 minutes
- All players must travel in their own cars, possibly in their kits
- No official referees will be allowed, with members of coaching staff taking charge
- Full risk-assessments of the stadium/training ground before games.”
Players must have tested negative in a recent coronavirus test in order to play in the fixture.
The matches can be played out at stadiums or training facilities. As with the soon to restart Premier League, no fans will be present at these matches.
For London clubs, there should be no problems at all with finding a match. There would be little travel involved. It would perhaps be surprising if Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal were to have a friendly. However, it is possible to avoid more vicious rivalries with nearby Watford and Crystal Palace, for example.
But, for clubs such as Newcastle United, Percy mentions, the Premier League will allow certain teams to travel a little further to find a match. Another example would be Norwich City.
The friendlies will allow the players to make a start on their match fitness. The Premier League is due to restart on June 17th.
But, these preparatory matches also provide a test of what will happen when teams do eventually face each other. Of course, the Bundesliga has already returned and still continues.
Moreover, the friendlies will let teams and clubs practice how their stadia can be optimised in terms of safety and distancing when not on the playing field.