• Will Albion return to action in June?

    After the government announced that sporting events may possibly continue in June, the Premier League clubs have continued their long-running discussions exploring how to resume the 2019/20 season.

    With the obvious concession that games are set to be played behind closed doors, as per the relaunch of the Bundesliga campaign, Albion confirmed that refunds will be given to season ticket holders in lieu of the games that fans will no longer be able to attend.

    Premier League clubs have agreed the protocols that will be in place to move towards the resumption of competitive football, including extensive testing of players and coaching staff, and robust sanitation procedures.

    For punters who enjoy a bet on football, the return of the Premier League would signal a welcome step closer to more normal times. To keep up-to-date with future matches and fixtures, here’s a list of the best online bookmakers.

    However, until the Premier League agrees a definitive timetable for Project Restart and the resumption of games, there is still uncertainty as to exactly when Brighton and their Premier League peers will return to action, and there are a few related matters that need agreement.

    Player Contracts
    The standard expiry date for player contracts each year is June 30th, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic, discussions have been taking place with a view to extending that deadline to enable otherwise out-of-contract players to participate in fixtures that extend beyond this date.

    When asked if the contract expiry will become a factor, and if out-of-contract players will want to or even be allowed to participate in fixtures beyond June 30th, Albion chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber told the Mid Sussex Times:

    “This is a complex area which, thankfully, doesn't massively affect our club directly this June. It is, however, another area where ensuring and maintaining competition integrity is key. They are working with clubs to agree on a special protocol.”

    Currently, Brighton players with contracts expiring on June 30th include Ezequiel Schelotto, Beram Kayal, and Leon Balogun.

    Player Health and Welfare
    Three Albion have tested positive for Covid-19 to date. Fortunately, the first two players recovered well and, according to manager Graham Potter, the third positive player went into self-isolation for 14 days on the 10th May.

    In the Premier League’s first round of tests, which tested 748 players and staff from 19 clubs, six positive tests were returned and, again, those affected went into isolation in order to protect other squad members.

    Regarding the possible continuation of the season, Paul Barber told Sky Sports News, “There are concerns and I think it is normal for all clubs to have those concerns. We want to make sure we do all that we can [so] the protocols that are put into place are safe and secure and mitigate the risk.”

    Despite the tentative green light to resume, there remains uncertainty as to exactly when Premier League football could kick-off once again, with much depending on agreement on the measures for the safety and health of players and staff.

    What if the Premier League doesn’t resume?
    Although there is a widespread desire for the 2019/20 Premier League season to resume, including from the UK government what if, in the worst-case scenario, it doesn’t?

    If that happens, one of the possibilities touted is using the halfway stage as the final standing. The Premier League have also considered relegating the bottom three if the season did not pursue, a move which would see Albion retain their top-flight status.

    Another option would be an unweighted points-per-game system, as already utilised in League Two’s season curtailment. This would not result in any changes in the relegation picture, meaning once again Albion would survive.

    With discussions still in place on match schedules and player conditions, is it the right time for football to make a comeback? Join the discussion on whether or not the Premier League can finish the season.
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