Stars of the English Premier League — the world’s richest and most popular soccer league — have expressed concern about plans to return to action in the coming weeks, as Britain craves the return of its national sport.
Players last played a competitive game in March shortly before a U.K.-wide coronavirus lockdown sent most professional sports across the globe into indefinite hibernation. The pause came as a bitter blow to fans of Liverpool, who were sailing to their first championship title in 30 years.
But with Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently declaring that Britain is now “past the peak and on the downward slope” of the outbreak, talk of playing out the final nine rounds of matches — dubbed “Project Restart” by the league — has accelerated.
The U.K. government is due in the coming days to reveal a roadmap for reopening businesses and schools. For soccer, called football in Europe, a number of options are being considered, including playing matches in controlled environments in June and July without supporters present, or even moving games overseas.