Project Restart: Confusion Over Neutral Venues, Broadcasters Keen to Attend Liverpool's Trophy Presentation & More

The Club Badges of the North West Premier League Clubs Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United
The Club Badges of the North West Premier League Clubs Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Following a number of crucial meetings this week, a date has finally been set for the resumption of the 2019/20 Premier League.

Should there be no spike in the number of cases of the coronavirus and as long as it is safe to do so, the campaign in England's top flight will resume on 17 June. This was crucial for both fans of the game and indeed the athletes and staff, considering the uncertainty and lack of clarity with regards to the completion of the current season.

There remain a number of unanswered questions, however, so we take a look at the latest updates regarding Project Restart this Saturday...

BT and Sky Sports to Cover Games Remotely - But Sky Keen for Pundits to Attend Liverpool's Trophy Presentation

Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher
Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Football fans who have tuned in to watch the Bundesliga in Germany on BT Sport will have seen former player, pundit and friend of 90min Owen Hargreaves providing tactical analysis from the comfort of his own home. The Daily Mail report that they 'may' tell their staff to also work from home when the Premier League returns, while Sky Sports plan to have presenters and pundits working (applying social distancing measures) in their studios.

However, broadcasters are keen to be there when (one would presume) Liverpool lift the Premier League trophy. A Sky Sports insider told the Daily Mail that the company would like their 'big names' at Anfield for the special moment.

This is, of course, if Liverpool aren't made to play their games at neutral venues - with it being said that the Reds will 'almost certainly' miss out on the chance of lifting the trophy at home as they could be forced to play their remaining home games at a neutral venue.

Nonetheless, broadcasters remain keen on attending the trophy presentation - wherever that may be.

Merseyside Police Back Liverpool & Everton

As previously mentioned, Liverpool could be one of the worst impacted by the neutral venues proposal as they could be forced to play their remaining home games away from Anfield due to fears over health and safety. However, as reported by the Daily Mail, they have been handed a boost as not only are they fighting hard to play their remaining games at Anfield, Merseyside police have also revealed that they have 'no objections' to both Liverpool and Everton playing at home.

Assistant chief constable Rob Carden said on the matter: "Merseyside Police is ready to provide whatever policing is required in relation to games being played at our Premier League stadia once the season restarts. In relation to crime and disorder, we have no objections to any of the Everton or Liverpool home fixtures being played at their respective grounds.

"We have a good relationship with both clubs and their fan groups, and are content that we can work together in advance of the restart."

The Merseyside derby is one of the fixtures left on the calendar, with Liverpool potentially able to seal the title against their rivals.

Neutral Venues Confusing Oh So Much Confusion as Mark Roberts Speaks Out

During the enforced break, there has been confusion with regards to a number of topics - with the issue of neutral venues one of the more notable examples.

First, it was a necessity, then it was off the table - but now it's back on again.

Merseyside police have decided to back Liverpool and Everton, explaining that they have no objections to both clubs playing their remaining home games at their normal stadiums. However, in stark contrast, the England's lead for football policing Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts recently declared that a 'consensus' has been reached.

Roberts said, as quoted by BBC Sport: "We have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing. The majority of remaining matches will be played, at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed.

"This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums."

BBC Sport claim that six matches are 'set' to be played at neutral venues. These are: Manchester City vs Liverpool, Manchester City vs Newcastle, Manchester United vs Sheffield United, Newcastle vs Liverpool, Everton vs Liverpool and the game in which Liverpool could win the title.

There is a lack of clarity at this moment in time, with a final decision yet to be made.

Some Home Comforts for Those Forced to Play at Neutral Venues...Kind of

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

How about a little bit more information on neutral venues? Oh, go on then!

The Daily Mail, again, report that should some of the remaining fixtures be played at neutral venues, teams could be allowed 'some' home comforts.

Talks have been held regarding ways to satisfy clubs who could be forced to play away from their home grounds, with the report stating the team who were due to play at home could be allowed to pick the walkout music, goal music and use their usual stadium announcer for games that are moved.

Premier League clubs are also considering playing friendly matches and hosting training sessions at their stadiums to give players the chance to play behind closed doors.