The Premier League has been suspended indefinitely but the plan remains for the English top-flight to wrap up the current campaign. UEFA, having promised to prioritize concluding the domestic leagues, has now taken another measure to aid the 2019/20 EPL campaign by lifting the country’s infamous 3pm blackout.
In both England and Scotland, UK broadcasters are prohibited from airing live domestic and foreign games that kick off from 2:45 pm to 5:15 pm. This restriction has now been wavered by European football’s governing body given the special circumstances.
The statement by UEFA read: “Taking into account the current exceptional circumstances, UEFA has lifted the ‘blocked hours’ protection granted to the UEFA member associations for England and Scotland for the remainder of the 2019/20 football season, following requests from the relevant national associations as a result of measures taken in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This restriction has been lifted by UEFA but it could mean bad news for some. The reason is because this move is seen as the pathway to staging Premier League games behind closed doors, a proposition which many are against, including Man City boss Pep Guardiola.
However, given that a lot is at stake regarding the English top-flight and its ability – or inability – to conclude the season, it is understandable that the league is exploring this option. The English top-flight teams are aware of the financial implications if the season was to be canceled, with clubs looking to lose a whopping $915M if the 2019/20 campaign is abandoned.
One option being explored by the league is a “World Cup-style camp” in order to wrap up the season. Teams would gather in a neutral venue to play the remaining fixtures, with only personnel necessary for staging and broadcasting these fixtures being allowed entry. The goal is to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection but given that the Premier League scrapped their original plan of resuming on May 1 in favor of an indefinite suspension, it remains unclear when they will be given the green light to return to action.