‘It would lift the spirit of the nation’: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reveals plans to play Premier League games behind closed doors are under ‘active consideration’ as he reinforces government’s desire to see Project Restart succeed
- Dominic Raab has assured that a Premier League return is under consideration
- He says it ‘would lift the spirits of the nation’ amid the coronavirus pandemic
- The preferred start date under the terms of Project Restart is currently June 12
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has assured the public that getting sport back up and running again amid the coronavirus pandemic is ‘under active consideration.’
He echoed previous government sentiments that a return for sport would boost the overall public mood, however Raab also stated that it would only happen when it is safe to do so.
‘It would lift the spirits of the nation,’ he said. ‘I think people would like to see us get back not just to work and get to a stage where safely your children can go to school but also enjoy some of those pastimes, sporting in particular.
Dominic Raab has assured that the government is considering a Premier League return
The preferred restart date for the Premier League is June 12, but a decision is yet to be made
‘I know the government have had constructive meetings with sports bodies to plan for athletes to resume training when it is safe to do so, and I can tell you that the culture secretary has been working on a plan to get sports played behind closed doors when we move to the second phase. Of course, we come back to the key point though.
‘We can only do it when the medical, scientific advice is that it can be done safely and sustainably but that is certainly something under active consideration.’
The Premier League’s plan to get the season going again, labelled Project Restart, hit a snag on Monday when it was revealed a crucial meeting aimed at rubber-stamping the initiative would be delayed until next week.
Players could return to training in socially distanced conditions as early as next Tuesday
Top-flight clubs and stakeholders were expected to hold crucial talks on Friday once Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the next phase of the UK’s lockdown guidelines on Thursday.
But Johnson has now scheduled the decisive briefing for Sunday, forcing top-flight chiefs to delay Friday’s meeting.
June 12 is currently the favoured restart date, and would need 14 votes in favour from clubs for matches to resume.
Matches will be played behind closed doors, and with a number of extra measures in place to protect the welfare of the players.
The Premier League is delaying critical talks over Project Restart until at least next week
The Foreign Secretary also commented on whether matches would be played with no crowd until a vaccine is created.
‘I can’t look too far into the future because there are various different ways we can get control of the virus permanently and defeat it for good,’ said Raab. ‘A vaccine is certainly one of those, therapeutics are another.
‘We are all waiting to see internationally how effective test, tracking, tracing can be. But whether it is a combination of test, tracking, tracing and other social distancing measures within what is possible within a sporting environment, we want to see what the options are.
‘So I think it is worth taking a close look at that, seeing whether it is possible to do safely but taking the medical and scientific advice as to when and how to proceed.’