Watching football fouls in slow motion doesn’t affect a ref’s decision


Slow-motion VAR replays during football matches do not impact a referee’s decisions by making incidents appear more intentional, a new report claims.

UK psychologists say slow motion actually helps referees to better distinguish yellow card and red card incidents during football matches.

The controversial VAR, or ‘video assistant referee’ system had been a constant talking point in the UK since its introduction to the Premier League last August. 

Fans and pundits alike criticised VAR for interrupting the flow of football matches with its real-time and slow-mo action replays, requiring the referee to pause play and often leave the pitch. 

But by recruiting a sample of real professional football officials, researchers claim to have provided solid evidence that VAR actually helps make the right decision.  

Slow-motion replays used as part of the video assistant referee (VAR) system have a positive impact on decisions made on the field, new research suggests. Mike Dean listens for a VAR decision before awarding Manchester City a penalty during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium earlier this season

Football fans will be faced with the frustrations of the high-tech VAR system once again when the Premier League resumes on June 17.  

‘I am a lifelong football fan who was in favour of VAR when it was introduced, but I did have a scientific concern about perception of slow-motion,’ lead author George Mather, a professor of vision sciences at the University of Lincoln, told MailOnline.

WHAT IS VAR?  

The Video Assistant Referee is a system that involves several highly-trained match officials that have access to a range of different camera angles and replay speeds

The small team of qualified referees are watching the game away from the pitch, safely shut away in a room casting an eagle eye over every piece of play.

They communicate with the referee on the field of play via a two-way radio.

The referee must consult VAR — only then does the process of analysis of an incident begin. 

The VAR cannot simply review anything it wants during the match.

The referee draws the outline of a TV screen in the air so everybody knows what’s going on and that VAR is set to be used. 

In an on-field review (OFR), the referee also leaves the pitch to watch replays on a pitch-side monitor. 

‘The study’s results gives me more confidence in VAR. I think it should definitely be kept as the best way to deal with critical decisions.’

The VAR system is used by more than 20 football associations in domestic leagues and cups worldwide, from the German Bundesliga, the MLS in North America and the A-League down under, as well as cup competitions. 

The introduction of VAR followed years of complaints from players, managers and fans of the wrong decisions being made by the officials – including violent tackles going unpunished.  

It was introduced to the Premier League for this season back in August and had since been a trigger for lively debates from TV pundits, before the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.    

Slow-motion replays are used in the dreaded VAR reviews, but research into the referee’s perception of the replay raises question marks. 

Previous research supports the idea that incidents viewed in slow-motion may appear more intentional, potentially biasing decision-making.

‘Slow motion replay can systematically increase judgments of intent because it gives viewers the false impression that the actor had more time to premeditate before acting,’ according to a 2016 research paper published in PLOS. 

To learn more, Professor Mather and his colleague carried out a study to test whether professional football referees would show this bias when they made decisions using slow-motion playback compared to real-time playback.

Eighty professional football officials from the Premier League and Championship took part in research led by the University of Lincoln. They each watched video clips of incidents from different European leagues, making decisions about how much contact was made, whether it was deliberate and what disciplinary sanction they would apply

Eighty professional football officials from the Premier League and Championship took part in research led by the University of Lincoln. They each watched video clips of incidents from different European leagues, making decisions about how much contact was made, whether it was deliberate and what disciplinary sanction they would apply 

The team recruited 80 elite English professional football officials from the first two tiers of English league football – the Premier League and the Championship.

Each participant watched video clips of match incidents and made decisions about how much contact was made, whether it was deliberate and what disciplinary sanction they would apply if they’d been reffing the match.

The 60 incidents in total, recorded from matches of professional European leagues, were either given as fouls, yellow-card offences or red-card offences by the on-field referee, with 20 clips in each category.

Incidents were played to the participants in both real-time and slow motion, which was played at x0.25 or quarter speed.

Former Premier League Referee Neil Swarbrick sits at a VAR station within the Premier League's VAR hub. Psychologists believe  slow-motion replays may enhance official¿s ability to distinguish between moderate and severe offences

Former Premier League Referee Neil Swarbrick sits at a VAR station within the Premier League’s VAR hub. Psychologists believe  slow-motion replays may enhance official’s ability to distinguish between moderate and severe offences

Participants had no knowledge of the incidents, playback speeds or disciplinary sanctions relating to each clip.

Three judgements were then made about each incident – extent of contact, degree of intent and disciplinary sanction.

The participants’ judgements of each of these three factors increased progressively in line with the severity of the incident, as judged by the on-field referee at the time. 

The team also found no evidence that slow-motion biases refereeing decisions by making incidents appear more intentional.

Playback speed had an effect on decision-making, but the team did not find a consistent bias due to slow-motion.

In fact, slow-mo actually helped referees to distinguish between yellow-card incidents and red-card incidents, they said. 

The Premier League is 'happy with VAR' despite a first season in England full of controversy, which was halted by the coronavirus pandemic

The Premier League is ‘happy with VAR’ despite a first season in England full of controversy, which was halted by the coronavirus pandemic

Slow-motion playback increased the distinction between moderate and severe offences and may actually aid decision-making rather than hinder it, they claim. 

Watching a slow-mo playback of an incident before a real-time playback – another possible influencer of the severity of the ref’s verdict – also made no difference on the final decision. 

Professor Mather pointed out that all the incidents in the clips were of challenges for the ball and none of them contained hand-ball or offside offences.

This suggests their findings are relevant to decisions that affect bookings and sending-offs only.

The team also say their conclusions only apply to elite officials, as used in the experiments, who were ‘highly trained and experienced’ in making very specific technical judgements.

‘The question of whether other viewers such as TV football pundits or supporters are also immune to playback speed effects is open,’ they say.    

VAR also ultimately relies on human judgement to come up with a final decision, according to one critique of the system, and the fine line between a yellow and red card offence is often blurry. 

The research has been published in Royal Society Open Science.

Ministers green light return of professional competitive sport in England from June 1


Ministers today gave the green light for the return of professional competitive sport in England from June 1, with horse racing likely to be the first back. 

Oliver Dowden fronted the daily briefing today and outlined the specific steps that must be taken to allow events to be hosted starting from next month.

The first major sporting showpiece to return is expected to be the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on June 6 – and the race will also be shown on free-to-air television. 

Meanwhile the Premier League is expected to return on June 17.

But Mr Dowden today confirmed that no spectators will be allowed at events for the foreseeable future.  

The Government is hoping the return of televised live sport will provide a boost to the nation as it tries to recover from the current crisis. 

The first major sporting showpiece to return is expected to be the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on June 6 – and the race will also be shown on free-to-air television

Ministers today gave the green light for the return of professional competitive sport in England from June 1, with horse racing and Premier League football likely to be the first back (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis of Arsenal during a training session in London today)

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden made the announcement at the daily Downing Street press conference

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden made the announcement at the daily Downing Street press conference

Preparations are in the process of being finalised for the Premier League to return. 

The Premier League has already struck a deal with broadcasters to televise a significant number of its remaining matches on free-to-air TV.   

The Government today published a new set of guidance which all elite sport will have to comply with if it is to get back underway. 

Ministers published stage one guidance earlier this month which allowed professional athletes to return to individual training at official venues while maintaining social distancing from teammates. 

Stage two guidance was then released on May 25 which made clear that elite athletes could resume competitive, close contact training so that they could get match fit.

But today’s stage three guidance is what professional sports leagues and competitions have been waiting for because it sets out that meaningful action can soon resume. 

The publication of the rules is likely to trigger a wave of announcements in the coming weeks as different sports set out how and when they will get back underway.

Mr Dowden said: ‘The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.

‘This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. 

‘It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it’s right for them to restart.

‘This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved.’

The Premier League is targeting a June 17 return to complete the 2019/20 season. The first game is expected to be Manchester City V Arsenal

The Premier League is targeting a June 17 return to complete the 2019/20 season. The first game is expected to be Manchester City V Arsenal 

The new guidance for elite sport is the product of consultation between the Government’s health and science experts, Public Health England and medical representatives across Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports governing bodies. 

The ‘strict conditions’ set out by ministers make clear that spectators will not be allowed to go to any of the events which return. 

Assuming conditions are met, the 2000 Guineas Stakes horse race is likely to be the first major sporting event allowed to go ahead. 

The race, taking place at Newmarket Racecourse on June 6, will be broadcast on free-to-air TV. 

The Government, Public Health England, the Premier League and the English Football League have been locked in talks for weeks over the return of the nation’s favourite game. 

The Premier League is targeting a return on June 17 while the Championship could restart soon after. 

However, League One and League Two look set to go the way of Scottish football, with early curtailments. 

The return of professional football will be subject to a successful vote from the relevant clubs and the support of the police. 

The Government had urged the Premier League to widen access for for fans to view live coverage given the fact that none can attend matches in person. 

The Premier League this week agreed a deal which will see some matches shown for free on Sky’s ‘Pick’ TV available on Freeview and for the first time ever on the BBC. 

The Premier League is aiming to complete the remaining 92 matches of the 2019/20 season. 

The first matches back are slated to be Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal, which would complete the 29th round of fixtures. 

A full set of fixtures would then take place across the weekend of June 19-21.

All games are due to be behind closed doors and televised while police have requested a handful of matches, including any in which Liverpool could secure the title, be held at neutral venues.

The FA Cup quarter-finals have been provisionally rearranged for the weekend of June 27-28, with the semi-finals on July 17-18 and the Wembley final set for August 1.  

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters welcomed the announcement by the Government and said: ‘We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on 17 June, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

‘This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers – along with all our other stakeholders – as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority.

‘If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019/20 season in just over two weeks’ time.’ 

It will ultimately be up to leagues and competitions to decide whether it is ‘safe and appropriate’ to return and resume competition. 

Ministers green light return of professional competitive sport in England from June 1


Ministers today gave the green light for the return of professional competitive sport in England from June 1, with horse racing and Premier League football likely to be the first back. 

However, all of the action will be behind closed doors with spectators banned from attending any events for the foreseeable future. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden made the announcement at the daily Downing Street press conference as he said the ‘wait is over’ after a three month break caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Government is hoping the return of televised live sport will provide a boost to the nation as it tries to recover from the current crisis. 

Ministers today gave the green light for the return of professional competitive sport in England from June 1, with horse racing and Premier League football likely to be the first back (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis of Arsenal during a training session in London today)

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden made the announcement at the daily Downing Street press conference

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden made the announcement at the daily Downing Street press conference

The first major sporting event expected to go ahead is the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse on June 6.  

Preparations are in the process of being finalised for the Premier League to return, with the season likely to get back up and running on June 17. 

The Premier League has already struck a deal with broadcasters to televise a significant number of its remaining matches on free-to-air TV.

The Government today published a new set of guidance which all elite sport will have to comply with if it is to get back underway. 

Ministers published stage one guidance earlier this month which allowed professional athletes to return to individual training at official venues while maintaining social distancing from teammates. 

Stage two guidance was then released on May 25 which made clear that elite athletes could resume competitive, close contact training so that they could get match fit.

But today’s stage three guidance is what professional sports leagues and competitions have been waiting for because it sets out that meaningful action can soon resume. 

The publication of the rules is likely to trigger a wave of announcements in the coming weeks as different sports set out how and when they will get back underway.

Mr Dowden said: ‘The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.

‘This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. 

‘It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it’s right for them to restart.

‘This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved.’

The new guidance for elite sport is the product of consultation between the Government’s health and science experts, Public Health England and medical representatives across Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports governing bodies. 

The ‘strict conditions’ set out by ministers make clear that spectators will not be allowed to go to any of the events which return. 

Assuming conditions are met, the 2000 Guineas Stakes horse race is likely to be the first major sporting event allowed to go ahead. 

The race, taking place at Newmarket Racecourse on June 6, will be broadcast on free-to-air TV. 

The Government, Public Health England, the Premier League and the English Football League have been locked in talks for weeks over the return of the nation’s favourite game. 

The Premier League is targeting a return on June 17 while the Championship could restart soon after. 

However, League One and League Two look set to go the way of Scottish football, with early curtailments. 

The return of professional football will be subject to a successful vote from the relevant clubs and the support of the police. 

The Government had urged the Premier League to widen access for for fans to view live coverage given the fact that none can attend matches in person. 

The Premier League this week agreed a deal which will see some matches shown for free on Sky’s ‘Pick’ TV available on Freeview and for the first time ever on the BBC. 

The Premier League is targeting a June 17 return to complete the 2019/20 season. The first game is expected to be Manchester City V Arsenal

The Premier League is targeting a June 17 return to complete the 2019/20 season. The first game is expected to be Manchester City V Arsenal 

The Premier League is aiming to complete the remaining 92 matches of the 2019/20 season. 

The first matches back are slated to be Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal, which would complete the 29th round of fixtures. 

A full set of fixtures would then take place across the weekend of June 19-21.

All games are due to be behind closed doors and televised while police have requested a handful of matches, including any in which Liverpool could secure the title, be held at neutral venues.

The FA Cup quarter-finals have been provisionally rearranged for the weekend of June 27-28, with the semi-finals on July 17-18 and the Wembley final set for August 1.  

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters welcomed the announcement by the Government and said: ‘We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on 17 June, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

‘This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers – along with all our other stakeholders – as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority.

‘If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019/20 season in just over two weeks’ time.’ 

It will ultimately be up to leagues and competitions to decide whether it is ‘safe and appropriate’ to return and resume competition. 

How much will it cost to watch EVERY one of the 92 Premier League games this season?


After three barren months with no live Premier League action on our screens, the excitement is palpable ahead of next month’s big restart.

Following the coronavirus shutdown, all 92 remaining matches in the 2019-20 season will be broadcast live across four different broadcasters in the UK.

And with no supporters able to watch inside the stadium, more football fans than ever will be desperate to find the best way to watch at home on TV from June 17 – and it is possible to catch all the action for £117.98. 

Premier League football will soon return to our screens for a mammoth feast of summer action

WHO HAS PREMIER LEAGUE TV RIGHTS?

The final 92 Premier League matches of the season will be split across four different broadcasters. Here’s how…

Sky Sports: 64 (25 free-to-air)

BT Sport: 20

Amazon Prime: 4

BBC:

While the full schedule has not yet been confirmed, we know that Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime and the BBC are the four broadcasters showing games, with Sky already committing to putting 25 of their 64 matches out free-to-air.

But, of course, it will cost some money if you’re to legally watch every match between now and the scheduled July 26 final day.

Here, Sportsmail takes you through the four different broadcasters and the cheapest way to watch all the action across the ultimate summer of football…  

Sky Sports

Let’s start with the big dogs… Sky Sports are showing 64 of the remaining 92 matches, well over treble the amount of any of their rivals.

They have already committed to putting out 25 of them free-to-air, including a huge Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton on the opening weekend of games.

To watch all of the matches, though, you’ll have to dip your hand into your pocket… but never fear, we’ve researched the cheapest way to do it.

Of course, both Sky and BT rely on long subscriptions for their customers to keep the money rolling in, so full packages are often in 12-month or sometimes 24-month contracts – not ideal if you just want to watch a couple of months of football.

With the action restarting on June 17 and likely ending on July 26 – providing the coronavirus pandemic continues to ease and plans stay on track – you will only need to buy two months’ worth of sports passes.

The familiar faces of Gary Neville (left) and Jamie Carragher will soon be back as pundits

The familiar faces of Gary Neville (left) and Jamie Carragher will soon be back as pundits

The easiest way – and cheapest way – do that is through NOW TV’s Sky Sports monthly pass, which comes in at £33.99 a month. Across the two months’ worth of action, that is a total of £67.98 – or £1.06 a match if you plan on watching all of their 64 live games.

There is another decent – and cheaper option – but it comes with its restrictions. Sky also offer a far cheaper ‘mobile month pass’ for just £5.99.

Across the two months that is £11.98, or just under 19p a match… but of course, you can only watch the action on your phone and not on a TV like the other, more expensive pass.

NOW TV also offer day and week passes, but they don’t offer the same value as the monthly deal. The daily pass is £9.99, and of course you could fire that up at 2:59pm on a Saturday and enjoy a real feast of action with games at 3pm, 5:30pm, 8pm, and then 12pm and 2pm on the Sunday.

Sky Sports have the majority of the remaining games and will even show 25 of their 64 for free

Sky Sports have the majority of the remaining games and will even show 25 of their 64 for free

The difficulty right now is that it hasn’t yet been announced which broadcasters will have which time slots, so it’s impossible to work out the best time to get a daily Sky pass.

The weekly NOW TV pass comes in at £14.99, and with Sky showing the majority of the 16 top-flight matches each week, if you don’t want a monthly pass you could take a look at the schedule and pick the best time to do this seven-day deal.

All of this information is, of course, subject to any new offers that Sky might give new and existing customers over the next three weeks before the action begins but right now, it’s looking like £1.06 a match for the NOW TV monthly pass, or 19p a match if you’re willing to watch just on your phone.

The benefit of the NOW TV deals is no contract… so as soon as the season is up on the last week of July, you’re well within your rights to immediately cancel your subscription. 

Sky have confirmed that they will show the Merseyside derby for free on the opening weekend

Sky have confirmed that they will show the Merseyside derby for free on the opening weekend

BT Sport

Much like Sky, the majority of BT’s sports offers are only available if you buy broadband through them or already have a Sky box at home.

For those with the above, BT offer a £29.99 a month package for sports, but there is a £35 up-front charge to ensure you’re not tied into a contract, or a £20 up-front charge if you only want a 12-month deal.

Of course, we’re keen on just watching the final two months of Premier League action, and – happily – we can report a cheaper way to do it!

The company do offer a way to watch their 20 televised Premier League matches without needing BT broadband, and also without tying yourself into a long and complicated contract.

BT Sport will show 20 live Premier League matches between now and the end of the season

BT Sport will show 20 live Premier League matches between now and the end of the season

For £25 a month (so £50 for the two months we need across June and July for the football), you can sign up to their unlimited access online package. 

Including BT Sport Ultimate for a brilliant picture quality, you can watch games through the BT Sport app on mobile, tablet, console and Smart TV.

The benefit, of course, is that you can cancel as soon as the channel’s 20 matches are done and dusted… but BT do of course also have the Bundesliga rights, as well as UFC and other sports to enjoy outside the Premier League.

So, with the total coming in at £50 for the two months, that works out at £2.50 a game to watch BT Sport’s offerings. As of yet, there has been no confirmation about which games each broadcaster will show, so it’s a case of wait and see before you know what teams you’ll see for your money. 

Premier League players are back in contact training ahead of the June 17 return to the pitch

Premier League players are back in contact training ahead of the June 17 return to the pitch

Amazon Prime

This one is a little easier. As you may well have already worked out from the 20 matches the online giant showed in December, there are ways to watch Prime’s coverage without paying a penny.

Earlier in the season, Amazon had the rights to two rounds of fixtures, one in early December and the other just after Christmas. With them both coming in the same month, it only required one monthly subscription payment to ensure you saw all the action.

We currently know that Amazon have the rights to four matches of the final 92, but we don’t know the timeframe and whether they will be across one month or two.

Amazon had 20 games earlier in the season and they will show a further four in June and July

Amazon had 20 games earlier in the season and they will show a further four in June and July

If they are across one month, then it’s very easy to watch the matches for free. Amazon Prime offer a 30-day free trial for their services, so you’d be able to sign up on the day of the game and watch to your heart’s content for a month before cancelling it ahead of the next month’s subscription kicking in.

Of course, if their matches are spread wider than a 30-day period, you may have to keep the subscription for longer and pay a month of their usual £7.99 rate.

To conclude… if Amazon’s four games are in the space of a month – it’ll be free to watch them, and if they’re across two months, it’s £7.99. If the latter is the case, that works out at a not-too-pricey £2 a match. 

BBC

In an unprecedented turn of events, it was announced on Thursday that public broadcaster the BBC had acquired the rights to four of the remaining 92 matches.

That’s great news for you and I, because if you pay your licence fee you’re going to be able to watch them for free, either on TV or online on the iPlayer.

As with all the other broadcasters, it’s not yet been announced which games they’ll show… but the coverage is likely to be fronted by Gary Lineker, with the usual Match of the Day punditry faces like Ian Wright and Alan Shearer among the team.

The BBC have acquired the rights to four Premier League matches, which will be free to watch

The BBC have acquired the rights to four Premier League matches, which will be free to watch

So how much will it cost overall?

Let’s take a look at the full cost to get all the subscriptions needed to watch every game…

First of all, it should be noted that for free, you’ll be able to watch at least 29 games across Sky’s free-to-air 25 and the BBC’s four. Of course, if the Amazon matches come in the space of a month, that takes the free offering up to 33 matches… or 36 per cent of the remaining Premier League games without paying a penny.

If you’re happy to watch on a mobile device, then you could get the £5.99 a month Sky mobile-only deal and the BT online access monthly pass, paying £61.98 for everything over the space of two months. That works out at just over 67p per match.

Of course, of those 92 matches, 29 are free on Sky and the BBC, so you would really be paying £1.05p a match for the 59 subscription-only fixtures on Sky and BT, and £1.11 a game if you add a one-month Amazon subscription and their four games.

Fans can watch every single one of the 92 games for 67p per match on mobile or £1.28 on TV

Fans can watch every single one of the 92 games for 67p per match on mobile or £1.28 on TV

If you want the full television experience, you’ll need to pay for two months of Sky and two months of BT, coming to a total of £117.98 (£67.98+£50). That works out at £1.28 a game to see every single ball kicked across the 92 remaining matches.

Again, across the 59 subscription-only BT and Sky games you’re actually paying for, that’s pretty much exactly £2 a match.

Of course, we may need to once again factor in a month of Amazon’s £7.99 fee if the scheduling doesn’t work in our favour, taking the overall amount to £125.97, or £1.37 a game. Of the 63 you’d actually be paying for, that’s £2 a game again.

But regardless of the cost, one thing is for sure… the Premier League is nearly back, and after three months of nothing, it can’t come soon enough.

HOW YOU CAN WATCH WITH YOUR FRIENDS (AND STILL ADHERE TO THE GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES)

Having Premier League action back is all well and good, but many of us are used to watching in pubs or stadiums with large groups of our friends. Of course, that isn’t possible in the current coronavirus climate, but there are still ways to enjoy the match with your friends – while also staying safe.

From Monday, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that up to six people from different households will be able to mix outside including in gardens, while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

So BBQs in the sunshine are on, meaning you and five of your friends are allowed to gather in a garden on matchday. Get your replica shirts on, drag your TV into the garden, and voila – the perfect matchday experience, while still staying safe and observing the government’s rules. 

Of course, if the garden isn’t an option then you and your friends can still head to the local park. Some of the above viewing options include cheap deals for mobile and tablets, so with a couple of subscriptions and a decent speaker, it’s still possible to create an impressive football environment away from the home. It may hit your mobile data allowance hard, though!

Liverpool’s title run-in, Arsenal vs Spurs and Chelsea games – the Premier League’s ‘high risk’ ties


Police call for SIX ‘high risk’ Premier League games to be moved to neutral venues over crowd fears… with Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea and Newcastle all facing high-profile switches

  • Police have identified six ‘high risk’ PL games that could be at neutral venues
  • There are concerns fans could gather near grounds and breach lockdown rules 
  • Liverpool’s matches are of particular concern given they will win the title soon
  • There is concern about two Newcastle games amid their impending takeover 

Police have identified six fixtures of particular concern which will be staged at neutral venues when the Premier League returns, Sportsmail can reveal.

Three games involving Liverpool will be moved to a neutral venue, including the Merseyside derby and their likely title-winning game, though there is no possibility of Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti’s sides meeting in Manchester.

There is also a concern about two Newcastle games.

The full list of games police hold concerns over are: Manchester City v Liverpool, Manchester City v Newcastle, Manchester United v Sheffield United, Newcastle v Liverpool, Everton v Liverpool and the game which takes Liverpool to the title.

At yesterday’s Premier League meeting 12 games were mentioned as potentially being moved to neutral venues – including a series of London derbies, as revealed by Sportsmail. The clubs involved still expect these matches to be moved, too.

Three of Liverpool’s games will be moved to a neutral venue when the Premier League returns

THE SIX GAMES POLICE FEAR MOST

Manchester City v Liverpool

Manchester City v Newcastle

Manchester United v Sheffield United

Newcastle v Liverpool

Everton v Liverpool

Liverpool’s title-winning game 

Other games that could be moved include: 

While there had been an initial plan to play all matches at neutral grounds, that was dismissed out of hand but other games could now be switched – including Liverpool’s remaining matches at Anfield before they inevitably take the title.

The six fixtures of concerns have been identified after individual forces were asked which games concerned them.

As yet, there are no fixtures relating to relegation-threatened sides, which could avoid the row over neutral venues which saw the bottom six insist that they wanted to retain home advantage.

But Sportsmail understands that additional relegation fixtures could be added if that aspect of the resumed season creates crunch matches in which large numbers are likely to gather. 

There is no possibility of the Merseyside derby taking place just down the road in Manchester

There is no possibility of the Merseyside derby taking place just down the road in Manchester

Newcastle's huge fan base is a concern, with the possible Saudi takeover adding excitement

Newcastle’s huge fan base is a concern, with the possible Saudi takeover adding excitement

It has not yet been decided where neutral games will be staged. Some of Britain’s 43 police force areas have said they are willing to stage them. Some have indicated they are not.

Discussions on that will now take place between the Premier League and senior football police officers, who today praised the league for their cooperative and positive contribution to security discussions.

Greater Manchester Police, whose chief constable expressed concerns about some fixtures two weeks ago, have identified three fixtures in their force area as ones they prefer to be held at neutral venues.

The United v Sheffield United match is unexpected and could be a consequence of the two cities’ relative proximity and this being the Blades’ first season back in the top flight. 

Newcastle’s huge fan base clearly concerns officers, with the possible Saudi takeover at St James Park heightening the air of expectation.

Liverpool need just two more wins to capture the Premier League and it could come as early as the opening weekend, if Manchester City lose to Arsenal and they beat Everton. 

The likes of Leeds and West Brom in the Championship could also be asked to play at neutral venues as both are edging towards promotion. 

Man United v Sheffield United could be a consequence of the two cities' relative proximity

Man United v Sheffield United could be a consequence of the two cities’ relative proximity

Manchester City's home match against Liverpool could be another switched to a neutral venue

Manchester City’s home match against Liverpool could be another switched to a neutral venue

A plan is now in place for the Premier League season to be concluded by July 25, with 92 games to be held in 39 days.

Premier League chief Richard Masters said in a statement on Thursday: He said: ‘We have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday, June 17. 

‘But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

‘Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. 

‘The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. 

‘It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.’ 


Liverpool’s title run-in, Arsenal vs Spurs and Chelsea games – the Premier League’s ‘high risk’ ties


BREAKING NEWS: Police call for SIX ‘high risk’ Premier League games to be moved to neutral venues over crowd fears… with Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea and Newcastle all facing high-profile switches

  • Police have identified six ‘high risk’ PL games that could be at neutral venues
  • There are concerns fans could gather near grounds and breach lockdown rules 
  • Liverpool’s matches are of particular concern given they will win the title soon
  • There is concern about two Newcastle games amid their impending takeover 

Police have identified six fixtures of particular concern which will be staged at neutral venues when the Premier League returns, Sportsmail can reveal.

Three games involving Liverpool will be moved to a neutral venue, including the Merseyside derby and their likely title-winning game, though there is no possibility of Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti’s sides meeting in Manchester.

There is also a concern about two Newcastle games.

The full list of games police hold concerns over are: Manchester City v Liverpool, Manchester City v Newcastle, Manchester United v Sheffield United, Newcastle v Liverpool, Everton v Liverpool and the game which takes Liverpool to the title.

Three of Liverpool’s games will be moved to a neutral venue when the Premier League returns

THE SIX GAMES POLICE FEAR MOST

Manchester City v Liverpool

Manchester City v Newcastle

Manchester United v Sheffield United

Newcastle v Liverpool

Everton v Liverpool

Liverpool’s title-winning game 

On Thursday, the division announced that the action would resume on June 17 with the two games clubs have in-hand before a full round of fixtures, involving all 20 sides, over the weekend of June 20. 

While there had been an initial plan to play all matches at neutral grounds, that was dismissed out of hand but other games could now be switched – including Liverpool’s remaining matches at Anfield before they inevitably take the title.

The six fixtures of concerns have been identified after individual forces were asked which games concerned them.

As yet, there are no fixtures relating to relegation-threatened sides, which could avoid the row over neutral venues which saw the bottom six insist that they wanted to retain home advantage.

But Sportsmail understands that additional relegation fixtures could be added if that aspect of the resumed season creates crunch matches in which large numbers are likely to gather.

The Times have reported that there are 12 ‘high risk’ matches that discussions are being held over.

There is no possibility of the Merseyside derby taking place just down the road in Manchester

There is no possibility of the Merseyside derby taking place just down the road in Manchester

Newcastle's huge fan base is a concern, with the possible Saudi takeover adding excitement

Newcastle’s huge fan base is a concern, with the possible Saudi takeover adding excitement

It has not yet been decided where neutral games will be staged. Some of Britain’s 43 police force areas have said they are willing to stage them. Some have indicated they are not.

Discussions on that will now take place between the Premier League and senior football police officers, who today praised the league for their cooperative and positive contribution to security discussions.

Greater Manchester Police, whose chief constable expressed concerns about some fixtures two weeks ago, have identified three fixtures in their force area as ones they prefer to be held at neutral venues.

The United v Sheffield United match is unexpected and could be a consequence of the two cities’ relative proximity and this being the Blades’ first season back in the top flight. 

Newcastle’s huge fan base clearly concerns officers, with the possible Saudi takeover at St James Park heightening the air of expectation.

Liverpool need just two more wins to capture the Premier League and it could come as early as the opening weekend, if Manchester City lose to Arsenal and they beat Everton. 

The likes of Leeds and West Brom in the Championship could also be asked to play at neutral venues as both are edging towards promotion. 

Man United v Sheffield United could be a consequence of the two cities' relative proximity

Man United v Sheffield United could be a consequence of the two cities’ relative proximity

Manchester City's home match against Liverpool could be another switched to a neutral venue

Manchester City’s home match against Liverpool could be another switched to a neutral venue

A plan is now in place for the Premier League season to be concluded by July 25, with 92 games to be held in 39 days.

Premier League chief Richard Masters said in a statement on Thursday: He said: ‘We have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday, June 17. 

‘But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

‘Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. 

‘The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. 

‘It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.’ 


Premier League action to be shown on terrestrial television for the first time in the UK


Premier League matches to be shown for FREE for the first time ever with BBC to host FOUR games when the season restarts on June 17 – as it’s confirmed ALL 92 matches will be live on TV

  • The BBC will broadcast live Premier League football for the first time ever
  • All remaining 92 Premier League games will be broadcasted live on UK television
  • The last time the BBC aired top-flight football live was 32 years ago, in 1988
  • Sky Sports will air 64 games, with 25 – including Everton vs Liverpool – free-to-air
  • The news comes as it was announced that the PL will return to action on June 17 

The BBC will broadcast four live matches when the Premier League returns next month – the first time in 32 years that the public-service broadcaster will show top-flight football live.   

It is also the first time ever that the Premier League will have matches live on free terrestrial television, as it was confirmed that all 92 remaining games will be live on UK television.  

The news comes after the Premier League announced on Thursday that football in the UK will return on Wednesday June 17, with Aston Villa vs Sheffield United and Manchester City vs Arsenal the first fixtures to be played. 

The BBC will air four live Premier League matches when the top-flight returns on June 17

Fans can look forward to the views of Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer on live games

Fans can look forward to the views of Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer on live games

Premier League confirmed on Thursday that action will resume behind closed doors on June 17

Premier League confirmed on Thursday that action will resume behind closed doors on June 17

PREMIER LEAGUE SCHEDULED KICK-OFF TIMES 

Weekend matches will be scheduled as follows (all times BST):

Friday: 20:00, Saturday: 12:30, 15:00, 17:30 and 20:00, Sunday: 12:00, 14:00, 16:30 and 19:00, Monday: 20:00

Midweek matches will be scheduled as follows (all times BST):

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 18:00 and 20:00

The Premier League announced that all 92 remaining matches will be broadcast live in the UK by the League’s existing broadcast partners – Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime – given games will take place behind closed doors. 

The BBC will air four live games – currently unknown – alongside their usual weekly highlights Match of the Day programme. 

Sky Sports will broadcast 64 of the remaining 92 games, with 25 to be made freely available – including Everton vs Liverpool on the first weekend back. 

The 25 free-to-air games on Sky will be made available via Sky’s ‘Pick’ channel and simulcast on Sky Sports. 

In addition, planned kick-off times in the UK for live matches will also differ from traditional times (see above). 

Sky Sports will broadcast 64 live matches, with 25 - including Everton vs Liverpool - free-to-air

Sky Sports will broadcast 64 live matches, with 25 – including Everton vs Liverpool – free-to-air

There are four different time-slots on a Saturday and Sunday stretching from 12:00-20:00, as well as 6pm kick-off times for midweek games. 

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: ‘Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters announced the plans on Thursday evening

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters announced the plans on Thursday evening

‘The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.’  

Director of BBC Sport, Barbara Slater said: ‘This opportunity creates an historic moment for the BBC and our audiences. At a time when sports fans across the country are in need of lift, this is very welcome news. 

The Match of the Day team will present four live games and their usual weekly highlights show

The Match of the Day team will present four live games and their usual weekly highlights show

‘We are delighted and excited to have the chance to show live Premier League games on the BBC. 

‘This will offer audiences, who haven’t had the opportunity in the past, live , free to air access to the best football league in the world, as the BBC continues to keep the country entertained during these unprecedented times.’ 

When the Premier League returns, a number of innovative new features, ‘to give fans an even more immersive experience’, will be launched by Sky Sports as the Premier League’s leading broadcast partner. 

Premier League action to be shown on terrestrial television for the first time in the UK


Premier League matches to be shown for FREE for the first time ever with BBC to host FOUR games when the season restarts on June 17 – as it’s confirmed ALL 92 matches will be live on TV

  • The BBC will broadcast live Premier League football for the first time ever
  • All remaining 92 Premier League games will be broadcasted live on UK television
  • The last time the BBC aired top-flight football live was 32 years ago, in 1988
  • Sky Sports will air 64 games, with 25 – including Everton vs Liverpool – free-to-air
  • The news comes as it was announced that the PL will return to action on June 17 

The BBC will broadcast four live matches when the Premier League returns next month – the first time in 32 years that the public-service broadcaster will show top-flight football live.   

It is also the first time ever that the Premier League will have matches live on free terrestrial television, as it was confirmed that all 92 remaining games will be live on UK television.  

The news comes after the Premier League announced on Thursday that football in the UK will return on June 17, with Aston Villa vs Sheffield United and Manchester City vs Arsenal the first fixtures to be played. 

The BBC will air four live Premier League matches when the top-flight returns on June 17

Fans can look forward to the views of Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer on live games

Fans can look forward to the views of Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer on live games

Premier League confirmed on Thursday that action will resume behind closed doors on June 17

Premier League confirmed on Thursday that action will resume behind closed doors on June 17

PREMIER LEAGUE SCHEDULED KICK-OFF TIMES 

Weekend matches will be scheduled as follows (all times BST):

Friday: 20:00, Saturday: 12:30, 15:00, 17:30 and 20:00, Sunday: 12:00, 14:00, 16:30 and 19:00, Monday: 20:00

Midweek matches will be scheduled as follows (all times BST):

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 18:00 and 20:00

The Premier League announced that all 92 remaining matches will be broadcast live in the UK by the League’s existing broadcast partners – Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime – given games will take place behind closed doors. 

The BBC will air four live games – currently unknown – alongside their usual weekly highlights Match of the Day programme. 

Sky Sports will broadcast 64 of the remaining 92 games, with 25 to be made freely available – including Everton vs Liverpool on the first weekend back. 

The 25 free-to-air games on Sky will be made available via Sky’s ‘Pick’ channel and simulcast on Sky Sports. 

In addition, planned kick-off times in the UK for live matches will also differ from traditional times (see above). 

Sky Sports will broadcast 64 live matches, with 25 - including Everton vs Liverpool - free-to-air

Sky Sports will broadcast 64 live matches, with 25 – including Everton vs Liverpool – free-to-air

There are four different time-slots on a Saturday and Sunday stretching from 12:00-20:00, as well as 6pm kick-off times for midweek games. 

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: ‘Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.

‘The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.’  

Director of BBC Sport, Barbara Slater said: ‘This opportunity creates an historic moment for the BBC and our audiences. At a time when sports fans across the country are in need of lift, this is very welcome news. 

The Match of the Day team will present four live games and their usual weekly highlights show

The Match of the Day team will present four live games and their usual weekly highlights show

‘We are delighted and excited to have the chance to show live Premier League games on the BBC. 

‘This will offer audiences, who haven’t had the opportunity in the past, live , free to air access to the best football league in the world, as the BBC continues to keep the country entertained during these unprecedented times.’ 

When the Premier League returns, a number of innovative new features, ‘to give fans an even more immersive experience’, will be launched by Sky Sports as the Premier League’s leading broadcast partner. 

Premier League agree to restart the season in THREE WEEKS


Premier League clubs have agreed to restart the season in just three weeks’ time in what is a huge breakthrough for their Project Restart plans. 

The Premier League have desperately been trying to finalise plans to get the season back underway again following its suspension at the beginning of March amid the coronavirus crisis.

June 20 has been lined up as the first full round of fixtures following the Premier League’s resumption although Manchester City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United are set to go ahead on Wednesday June 17. 

Manchester City vs Arsenal has been lined up for June 17 when the Premier League resumes

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United is also likely to be played on Wednesday, June 17

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United is also likely to be played on Wednesday, June 17 

Newcastle were pictured back in contact training on Thursday after getting the green light

Newcastle were pictured back in contact training on Thursday after getting the green light

POTENTIAL OPENING SET OF LEAGUE GAMES

JUNE 17

Manchester City vs Arsenal

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

JUNE 19/20/21/22  

Aston Villa vs Chelsea

Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace

Brighton vs Arsenal

Everton vs Liverpool

Manchester City vs Burnley

Newcastle United vs Sheffield United

Norwich City vs Southampton

Tottenham vs Manchester United

Watford vs Leicester City

West Ham United vs Wolves 

These two matches are the ‘games in hand’ for these four clubs, which will take all 20 Premier League teams up to 29 fixtures for the season.  

Another game may be played on Friday June 19, with Sportsmail previously reporting that Tottenham vs Manchester United could be set for that slot, but the first full round of fixtures will start on Saturday June 20, with matches staggered across the weekend. 

In total, there are 92 matches remaining in the season.

The Premier League confirmed the news on Thursday evening following the conclusion of the league’s Shareholders’ meeting. 

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said in a statement: ‘Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday 17 June. But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

‘Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.

‘The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.

‘We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season.’

Premier League Shareholders also approved a proposal that would see all 92 remaining matches broadcast live in the UK by the League’s existing broadcast partners: Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime. 

The planned kick-off times in the UK for live matches will also differ from the traditional times.  

Former England forward and BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker was among those who tweeted their delight at football’s return. 

But Arsenal fan Piers Morgan was more apprehensive that their first fixture back was against high-flying Manchester City.

Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane expressed his joy, tweeting: ‘Football is back soon’ and a muscle emoji. 

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker tweeted his delight at the return of the Premier League

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker tweeted his delight at the return of the Premier League

Arsenal fan Piers Morgan tweeted his apprehension at their first game being against Man City

Arsenal fan Piers Morgan tweeted his apprehension at their first game being against Man City

Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane couldn't hide his delight at football's return

Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane couldn’t hide his delight at football’s return

Former England forward Michael Owen was also thrilled the Premier League was coming back

Former England forward Michael Owen was also thrilled the Premier League was coming back

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, meanwhile, expressed concerns that football’s return may allow the virus to spread, especially if supporters gather outside stadiums.

‘I am concerned about any action that could inadvertently lead to the virus spreading,’ Khan told LBC.

‘Let me make a confession. Even though I’m a south Londoner, I support Liverpool and that’s why a small part of my brain is keen for us to return. 

‘But actually the bigger part of my brain is saying safety is what matters.

‘We don’t want to inadvertently, for the best of intentions – all of us need cheering up, there’s nothing more joyous for sports fans than watching sport on TV, even without the crowds – but we need to make sure we don’t inadvertently give an opportunity to the virus to spread.

‘I know, human nature as it is, fans will turn up to see the coach arriving, to listen to the atmosphere – the players inside the stadium even though they’re not allowed in, to see the coach leaving, to buy t-shirts and scarves, police and councils need to enforce the rules. 

‘The overwhelming measures to social distancing are still there, the overwhelming measures to lockdown are still there. The key thing has got to be what is safe. 

‘We can’t have fans congregating around the stadiums. We don’t want Premier League clubs in London to have fans congregating… we’ve got Tottenham vs Arsenal coming up. It’s really important clubs work with police and others to make sure we get this right.’   

Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool team-mates are on the verge of wrapping up the league title

Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool team-mates are on the verge of wrapping up the league title

Clubs began training again last week, but were only allowed to work in groups of five

Clubs began training again last week, but were only allowed to work in groups of five

Liverpool are expected to win their first league championship in 30 years when the season resumes as they currently have a 25-point lead over second-placed City.

Should City lose their first game back to the Gunners on June 17, Jurgen Klopp’s men will be confirmed as champions should they beat rivals Everton just a few days later. 

With that, the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League and a tight relegation battle will likely provide plenty of entertainment. 

Norwich City, Aston Villa and Bournemouth currently occupy the bottom three places in the table.  

The restart date leaves Premier League managers with just three weeks to get their squads ready for the eagerly-awaited kick-off. 

After the English top-flight was suspended in early March, it leaves clubs with plenty of work to do to get their squads as match-fit as possible following over three months away from the game. 

Clubs only returned to small group training again last week, in line with the Premier League’s return-to-training protocols and UK Government guidelines on social distancing.   

How the Premier League title race and battle for Europe was shaping up before the shutdown

How the Premier League title race and battle for Europe was shaping up before the shutdown

How the bottom six currently looks in the Premier League amid a fascinating relegation scrap

How the bottom six currently looks in the Premier League amid a fascinating relegation scrap

Premier League matches will be played behind closed doors when it finally resumes

Premier League matches will be played behind closed doors when it finally resumes 

Premier League stars were only allowed to work in groups of five as clubs look to keep training as safe as possible ahead of the top-flight’s resumption. 

But on Thursday morning, training looked a more familiar site as contact was allowed again between players after Phase Two of Project Restart was given the green light.

Newcastle were the first team to publish pictures of their first-team stars in contact training on Thursday. 

During a conference call on Tuesday, Premier League players gave the green light to return to contact training during a captains and PFA delegates chat — a step forward that was ratified on Wednesday.

But while some clubs plan to head straight into contact training from Thursday — with only four positive tests out of 1,008 in round three of testing — others will wait for two more rounds of clear results before moving into phase two of training.

One of the players who was found to have Covid-19 in the first round of tests — Watford defender Adrian Mariappa — is back in training, with his club sharing footage of him returning to action. 

Potential dates for the Premier League’s resumption had been going back and forth in recent times.

The Premier League were hoping to get the campaign up and running again on June 12 but that option was soon out the window due to the time needed to get players back up to match sharpness.    

Premier League agree to restart the season in THREE WEEKS


Premier League agree to restart the season in THREE WEEKS with Manchester City v Arsenal and Aston Villa v Sheffield United lined up as the first games on Wednesday, June 17

  • The Premier League has taken a giant step forward towards its resumption
  • Plans are in place to restart the Premier League season in just three weeks
  • The top-flight has been suspended since early March due to coronavirus crisis
  • Man City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United is set to kick us off 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Premier League clubs have agreed to restart the season in just three weeks’ time in what is a huge breakthrough for their Project Restart plans. 

The Premier League have desperately been trying to finalise plans to get the season back underway again following its suspension at the beginning of March amid the coronavirus crisis.

June 20 has been lined up as the first round of fixtures following the Premier League’s resumption although Manchester City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United are set to go ahead on Wednesday June 17. 

Manchester City vs Arsenal has been lined up for June 17 when the Premier League resumes

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United is also likely to be played on Wednesday, June 17

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United is also likely to be played on Wednesday, June 17 

Newcastle were pictured back in contact training on Thursday after getting the green light

Newcastle were pictured back in contact training on Thursday after getting the green light

POTENTIAL OPENING SET OF LEAGUE GAMES

JUNE 17

Manchester City vs Arsenal

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

JUNE 19/20/21/22  

Aston Villa vs Chelsea

Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace

Brighton vs Arsenal

Everton vs Liverpool

Manchester City vs Burnley

Newcastle United vs Sheffield United

Norwich City vs Southampton

Tottenham vs Manchester United

Watford vs Leicester City

West Ham United vs Wolves 

These two matches are the ‘games in hand’ for these four clubs, which will take all 20 Premier League teams up to 29 fixtures for the season.  

Another game may be played on Friday June 19, with Sportsmail previously reporting that Tottenham vs Manchester United could be set for that slot, but the first full round of fixtures will start on Saturday June 20, with matches staggered across the weekend. 

The restart date leaves Premier League managers with just three weeks to get their squads ready for the eagerly-awaited kick-off. 

After the English top-flight was suspended in early March, it leaves clubs with plenty of work to do to get their squads as match-fit as possible following over three months away from the game. 

Clubs only returned to small group training again last week, in line with the Premier League’s return-to-training protocols and UK Government guidelines on social distancing. 

Premier League stars were only allowed to work in groups of five as clubs look to keep training as safe as possible ahead of the top-flight’s resumption. 

But on Thursday morning, training looked a more familiar site as contact was allowed again between players after Phase Two of Project Restart was given the green light.

Newcastle were the first team to publish pictures of their first-team stars in contact training on Thursday.

Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool team-mates are on the verge of wrapping up the league title

Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool team-mates are on the verge of wrapping up the league title

Clubs began training again last week, but were only allowed to work in groups of five

Clubs began training again last week, but were only allowed to work in groups of five

During a conference call on Tuesday, Premier League players gave the green light to return to contact training during a captains and PFA delegates chat — a step forward that was ratified on Wednesday.

But while some clubs plan to head straight into contact training from Thursday — with only four positive tests out of 1,008 in round three of testing — others will wait for two more rounds of clear results before moving into phase two of training.

Potential dates for the Premier League’s resumption had been going back and forth in recent times.

The Premier League were hoping to get the campaign up and running again on June 12 but that option was soon out the window due to the time needed to get players back up to match sharpness.   

Premier League matches will be played behind closed doors when it finally resumes

Premier League matches will be played behind closed doors when it finally resumes