What we know so far about Project Restart

Published on: April 28, 2020
Author: Jamie Clark
Project Restart for the Premier League ahead of UEFA deadline

Premier League football moved a step closer to resuming thanks to a plan called Project Restart and further details should emerge later this week.

On Monday, it was reported that three clubs – Arsenal, Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United – opened their training grounds so players could resume light individual routines.

Tottenham Hotspur have since made some of their training pitches available. Again, this is for individual players only.

Footballers reporting for training must do so alone, travelling independent of their teammates. Social distancing measures must be observed at all times.

Project Restart involves the Premier League returning on 8 June. Footballers need to be in full training by 18 May, however, for this to be met.

The Premier League are trying to accommodate European governing body UEFA and their plans for an August resumption of the Champions League and Europa League.

An end of July finish date for top flight English football is the aim in line with that. The plans of Project Restart are far from final though, and subject to government approval.

Arsenal released details of how their individual training regimes work within guidelines.

Groups of five players come to their Colney training base for individual sessions which include stretches and running with a ball.

Each player has their own football and there is an empty pitch between them and a teammate. All indoor buildings at Colney are closed.

Individual training is on a rota basis with players told by club staff where to park, in line with social distancing.

Project Restart just applies to Premier League clubs at the moment, but it is understood they are working closely with the FA and EFL over plans to restart the 2019-20 season.

Project Restart has UEFA deadline behind it

UEFA have set a 25 May deadline for the Premier League and all Europe’s top divisions to provide details for resuming the campaign. They want dates and what format leagues will take through until completion.

This is not a hard deadline, though, as UEFA recognises decisions are out of associations’ hands. It is for national governments to rule on when elite sport can resume.

After the KNVB cancelled the Dutch Eredivisie season with no champions crowned or relegation, UEFA have asked them for an explanation.

They previously set out that only special circumstances could justify a failure to complete the domestic campaign.

The KNVB has acted in accordance with The Netherlands’ government which has banned all major public events until 1 September. Football is the country’s main sport.

In neighbouring Germany, the situation is quite different. Bundesliga clubs have players back in training and ready to restart on 9 May. That is subject to state approval, however.

Italy’s plans for restarting the Serie A season are also more advanced. Individual training can resume from 4 May and team training from 18 May.

Premier League clubs are to meet via video conferencing on Friday, meanwhile, to discuss Project Restart further. They will talk through options for the rest of the season.