When the 2019/20 Premier League campaign resumed following the Covid-19 suspension, everyone involved was praised for their diligence – there were only a very few positive tests recorded at such a serious time for English football.
But, as is their wont, a number of top-flight stars have jetted off on holidays to all manner of exotic locations around the globe – and many have now returned home with an extra bit of hand luggage: a positive coronavirus test.
Paul Pogba is perhaps the most high-profile new case, but he is just the tip of the iceberg with a reported EIGHT players at Chelsea – Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Jorginho, Ross Barkley, Emerson and Michy Batshuayi – having either recorded a positive test or taking themselves into quarantine having mixed with a sufferer.
The Sun has also reported that four Arsenal players, including goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, returned late to training after quarantining and are fitness doubts for tomorrow’s Community Shield clash with Liverpool.
And the same paper is reporting that as many as seven Premier League clubs have at least one prominent player who has tested positive or is in quarantine. Fourteen positive cases in total have been reported, while others will have to self-isolate for 14 days having returned from countries on the government’s quarantine list – Raheem Sterling, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Dele Alli, James Maddison and Jack Grealish have all travelled back from nations were isolation is mandatory.
The new Premier League season is scheduled to start on September 12, and while all of the above will be clear to play for their sides on the opening day what ramifications will there be from them missing 14 days of training and/or friendlies – both in terms of fitness and tactically?
If the situation worsens, with more players having to quarantine after returning home from holiday, the Premier League may be forced into taking some rather difficult decisions….
Can I Watch All Premier League 2020/21 Games On TV?
There was a very exciting announcement this week when it was revealed that the Saturday 3pm blackout will remain lifted until supporters are allowed back inside stadiums.
And that opens the door for ALL Premier League games to be televised or streamed during the early part of the 2020/21 season.
It is expected – or at least hoped – that fans will return to the terraces in October, with the government initiating a number of new pilot schemes for socially-distances sporting events throughout September.
But with capacities cut by as much as 66% at some venues, the hope is that the more flexible broadcasting from Sky Sports and BT Sport will continue for the foreseeable future. Live coverage of the Championship, League One and League Two will also be extended, while Sky have also committed to airing La Liga games for free on the Premier Sports channel until October 1 at the earliest.
The Saturday 3pm blackout was originally put in place back in the 1960s, when the then Burnley chairman Bob Lord argued that televised games were having a negative effect on live attendances and also grassroots participation in football.