Project Restart marches on: As a return for the Premier League is finalised, here are the key dates for the rest of the 2019-20 season as football FINALLY makes a return
- Football received welcome news on Thursday as a return date was announced
- On June 17, Manchester City play Arsenal and Sheffield United meet Aston Villa
- But around that, what are the key dates for football fans to look out for?
Project Restart’s most emphatic breakthrough came on Thursday as it emerged that June 17 is the date the Premier League will begin again.
Manchester City will play Arsenal and Aston Villa take on Sheffield United to bring all 20 Premier League teams level on 29 games played. A full round of fixtures will resume from June 20.
So now, with a template in place, Sportsmail assesses how Project Restart could unfold from here.
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United is now scheduled to be played on Wednesday, June 17
Thursday has been the first day that clubs can introduce contact training back to their players.
The very first pictures of players getting stuck in came from Newcastle but it does not mean that clubs will resume in an immediate resumption of training methods before the coronavirus outbreak.
Groups will slowly be expanded and it will be a few days yet before clubs are playing 11 v 11 matches within their squads in training. Nevertheless, the first phases of contact training are an important landmark.
Newcastle were pictured back in contact training on Thursday after getting the green light
By now, clubs should all be involved in contact training, with the overall standard intensifying. A fortnight before the resumption of the season means that managers and coaches can fine-tune the conditioning plans they have for players.
The Telegraph have even reported that teams are looking at conducting pre-season friendlies to sharpen players up as much as possible ahead of the restart.
The first Premier League matches should be played. The most notable fixture is Manchester City against Arsenal, which pits Pep Guardiola against his former assistant Mikel Arteta.
Manchester City against Arsenal will be one of the first Premier League games
On the weekend of June 20, games like Everton v Liverpool will be held behind closed doors
The first full set of fixtures will be completed the weekend starting June 20. If City lose the midweek match to Arsenal, Liverpool can win the league against Everton.
Again, the matches are expected to be broadcast across a free-to-air platform. Sky Sports will broadcast 64 of the remaining 92 games, with 25 to be made freely available – including the Merseyside derby.
The last day of the season is July 26 but it is unlikely Man City will be holding the trophy
City are still in the FA Cup though and this year, the final will be held on August 1
The last day of the season – all being well, it will bring the completion to the campaign that the majority of Premier League clubs have wanted to see. Relegation and European places will be confirmed on the pitch, rather than a points-per-game system.
The new date for the FA Cup final at Wembley. The quarter and semi-finals will be played during the Premier League season.
The two dates here are slated for the final of the Europa League and Champions League, which is of interest to fans of Manchester United, Wolves, Chelsea and Manchester City.
Like the FA Cup, exactly how the remaining rounds are to be completed is yet to be announced by UEFA but with leagues across the continent tentatively following Germany’s lead and getting back to playing, there is growing hope.
Chelsea aren’t in the Europa League this year – their trophy will go elsewhere on August 26
Liverpool are out of the Champions League, so a new team will get the trophy on August 29
This is still to be confirmed but according to The Times, the Football Association have said that the 2020-21 campaign will need to begin soon after the 2019-20 season ends. It is reported that they have earmarked a two-week break after the European tournament finals.
This is because the delayed European Championship is taking place next summer, with a start date of June 11 and will run until July 11 – potentially with less host cities than what was initially planned.
Gareth Southgate, like all of the managers competing in the tournament, will require as much time as he can get with his players, including warm-up matches.
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