The Premier League remains confident that the current season can continue, regardless of any decision the government makes with regards to the country entering a second period of national lockdown as the coronavirus crisis worsens.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be giving consideration to implementing a four-week lockdown in an attempt to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect the NHS from being overwhelmed.
The Premier League was forced postpone matches between March 9 and June 17 earlier this year to fall in line with government guidelines but, according to the Daily Mail, the safety protocols and testing procedures that have been put in place could prevent another suspension.
Despite the success of ‘Project Restart’ over the summer and a largely seamless start to the new campaign, elite level football in England continues to be played behind closed door.
And although the Premier League remains hopeful that the 2020/21 campaign can continue without any disruption, the return of fans to stadiums is certain to be pushed back again.
While the rate of transmission continues to rise across the country, clubs have been largely unaffected with only a handful of players, including the likes of Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara, testing positive and forced into periods of quarantine.
The impending restrictions, meanwhile could be introduced on Wednesday and remain in place until December 1. Johnson has so far resisted pressure to reintroduce nationwide restrictions, despite calls for a ‘circuit-breaker’ to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.
But new data published on Friday suggested around 570,000 people per week are becoming infected with Covid-19 across England, prompting fresh calls from scientists for tougher restrictions.
Scientific advisers at the top of Government believe it is now too late for a two-week national circuit-breaker to have enough of an effect and a longer national lockdown is needed to drive the reproduction number, or R value, of the virus below one.
All parts of England are on course to eventually end up in Tier 3 restrictions, they believe, while deaths could potentially hit 500 per day within weeks. Government scientists are also confident that more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus are now occurring every day in England.