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Coronavirus: A guide to the return of sport

PUBLISHED: 12:30 30 May 2020

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (left) in action with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during a Premier League match at The Emirates Stadium

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (left) in action with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during a Premier League match at The Emirates Stadium

PA Wire/PA Images

Administrators across the sporting world have been working to plot a course out of the coronavirus shutdown.

West Indies batsman Carlos Brathwaite in action against England during the 2019 ICC World CupWest Indies batsman Carlos Brathwaite in action against England during the 2019 ICC World Cup

Here, the PA news agency looks at what sports fans can expect to see in the coming weeks and months.

Football

The Premier League is aiming for a June 17 resumption, pending Government approval, with a view to completing the remaining 92 matches of the 2019-20 season.

Jamie and Andy Murray during an exhibition doubles match at the SSE Hydro, GlasgowJamie and Andy Murray during an exhibition doubles match at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow

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, thanks to a new broadcast agreement, 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.

A return for the Championship is anticipated but League One and League Two look set to go the way of Scottish football, with early curtailments.

Cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board has devoted much time and planning to plans for ‘bio-secure’ environments in a bid to get the 2020 international calendar up and running.

Plans have been drawn up to hold the delayed Test series against the West Indies in July, with matches starting on July 8, 16 and 24. The Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford have been identified as the safest venues for hosting given their on-site hotels.

The Cricket West Indies board has been considering ECB proposals and will look to arrive on these shores via a charter flight four weeks before the first Test.

The county season has been pushed back to August 1 at the earliest with various options for a shortened season, including regionalised competitions in red and white ball cricket, under consideration.

Rugby Union

There is no date for a return at present, but the Premiership hopes to be back under way at some stage in July. The competition will be adopting the rule changes recommended by World Rugby to lower the risk of viral transmission.

The paused Six Nations is due to resume in October and conclude on the 31st, with the autumn internationals still on the slate for November.

Rugby league

Super League clubs have worked up three different models to get the season going again, all of which feature an August 16 start date.

The versions make room for 22, 24 or 28 rounds of fixtures to be completed, culminating in grand finals in November, December or January.

Golf

The PGA tour is preparing to end its three-month hiatus on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.

The European Tour has announced plans for a six-tournament ‘UK Swing’ behind closed doors, starting on July 22 with the British Masters and continuing through to the UK Championship at the end of August.

The US Open at Winged Foot is listed for September 17-20 but the following week’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits remains shrouded in doubt.

Tennis

Jamie Murray has helped organise a six-day tournament called ‘Schroders Battle of the Brits’ to fill the gap left by the suspension of the both the ATP and PTA tours.

Starting on June 23 and featuring Murray’s brother Andy as the headline attraction alongside the likes of Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans, the event will crown singles and doubles champions and be streamed via Amazon Prime as a charitable venture in aid of the NHS.

The Lawn Tennis Association will run a ‘British Tour’ of four events from July 3-26 and organisers at Roland Garros hold out hope of the French Open taking place in front of some form of live crowd between September 20 and October 4.

Formula One

Drivers are due back on the grid with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, the first of a projected eight races in Europe.

Current plans include Silverstone but the UK quarantine situation – currently 14 days for any overseas arrivals – could be a deal-breaker and the blueprint is contingent on any second coronavirus spike.

Horse racing

Action begins on June 1 on the flats at Newcastle, with no owners in attendance, strict health checks and masks for jockeys and stable staff.

The 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket follow on June 5-6, with five days and 36 races of Royal Ascot from June 16.

Cycling

A revised schedule for the UCI World Tour takes place from August 1, with 25 events planned.

The Tour de France will take place with an altered route starting on August 29 and concluding on September 20, while the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana will overlap in October.


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