Premier League, the clubs have decided: it starts again on June 17th

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LONDON – If the British invented football, the Germans blessed social distancing football. Many Premier League clubs have convinced themselves to return to the field reassured by the Bundesliga. Where, at least for now, “football in the time of the coronavirus” has restarted smoothly, despite the desolation, because “you are like spring, you make me reborn with your return” by crippling that Gabriel García Márquez.


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So, like Serie A, the Premier League also starts unanimously. Starting June 17, with two games, Aston Villa-Sheffield United and Manchester City-Arsenal. The rest of the day on 19 and 20. Then six shifts on weekends and two midweeks. Objective: to close everything by August 2nd, with the FA Cup final on the 8th. Obviously behind closed doors. But at least not on neutral ground, apart from some big matches with potential gatherings outside. Because the little ones fighting not to retreat, from Brighton to Norwich, have not succumbed. For them the home stadium, even if bare, will give the charge to save itself: fantasy in power.

It will be a physical massacre, with the highest accident risk after two months of freezing. English teams have been training with minimal physical contacts since yesterday, after ten days of individual exercises. Full-scale sessions will only return in a week. But it is the Premier Project Restart and the show, albeit sad, must continue. Even the fragile Tottenham bomber Harry Kane celebrates on Instagram with his fist: “Here we are again!”. Many others are less convinced, between existential fears and torments: the world champion Kanté of Chelsea and the bad boy of Watford Deeney do not train, the star of the City Sterling does it reluctantly after some of his family members died in Covid19, the full-back Rose is a fury: “We are not fucking guinea pigs!”.

But it starts again, also because the finances of the clubs are at an extreme – Manchester United yesterday activated 150 million credit line – and would have been even more for the approximately 300 million compensation to Sky and other pay TV, even greater if he had prevaricated beyond June 16, when the championship should have ended. “No alternatives”. At least four games will be broadcast in the clear on the BBC. Players and technical staff will be tested twice a week: so far “only” 12 positives out of 2752 exams that will never end. Those who become infected with Covid will isolate themselves for a week, the rest will continue at the front. Just end the agony of this season. And that Liverpool, thirty years later, will enjoy its motionless party.




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Mario Calabresi
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