IT’S now time to focus on restarting the season, something all 20 clubs in the PL have been keen to do, kicking off on June 17 and finishing on July 25.
Five-and-a-half weeks of games back to back. So, what’s in store?
Well, firstly, the 20 Premier League clubs have agreed to temporary changes to the rules relating to substitute players.
For the remainder of the 2019-20 season, the number of substitutes that can be used during a match will increase from three to five players and we agreed to increase the maximum number of substitute players on the bench from seven to nine players.
Rule L19, which requires clubs to field a full-strength team in every league match, remains in place to protect the integrity of the competition and ensure fairness to all clubs.
And we are now in the process of agreeing the matchday protocols, which will include everything from zoning the stadium into red, amber and green zones.
SPLIT INTO ZONES
RED ZONE will be the most severely restricted area, including the pitch, the tunnel, technical areas, changing rooms will be limited to 105 people maximum, to include players, coaching staff, match officials and all the essential staff only.
And only those who have tested negative for Covid-19 in the past five days can enter this area.
We will be creating a Clinical Passport System for those who will need to have access to the Red Zone.
The AMBER ZONE will be restricted to the minimum number of staff required to meet contractual requirements for broadcasting, media and club staff.
This area includes all interior areas within the stadium and anyone entering this area will be subject to a temperature check and a health questionnaire.
And the GREEN ZONE is the stadium exterior, eg car parking.
In all areas, social distancing needs to be observed and a series of one-way systems and other procedures need to be incorporated to ensure that it is.
This includes in the dressing room (save for 15 minutes for the pre-match tactical talk by the manager) and the showers.
A new strict accreditation process will be developed, including an isolation room should someone unfortunately develop symptoms of Covid-19 whilst within the stadium.
We also have to ensure players refrain from spitting and everything must be disinfected, including the corner flags and match balls.
There can be no sharing of drinks and no hand shaking.
PREMIER LEAGUE PRAISED
As the games will be behind closed doors, the PL have done a fantastic job working with the broadcasters to enhance the match-day experience for viewers.
The PL clubs approved a new rule that will see the lower-tier seats at all 20 stadiums covered.
This will help with acoustics and feature clubs’ insignia and fan representation and will be centrally sourced by the PL and installed by them into our 20 stadiums.
Supporters watching from home will get a 360-degree replay of the action, crowd noise (if they want that) and fan walls.
New cameras in the tunnel (without audio) will help supporters see the build-up to the match and the coin-toss will also be filmed.
There will also be a celebration camera and no doubt players will be working out how to use that if they have to socially distance!
And, a lovely touch, all players shirts will feature the NHS on the front of their playing kits.
So we are in good shape. We are ready. We are raring to go.