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Eleven Changes As Premier League Returns To Action

The Premier League is resuming - three months after the 2019-20 season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All 92 games will be played behind closed doors over the next six weeks.

Here are 11 things that will be different when football returns:

No fans

All matches will be held behind closed doors, with no fans permitted within the stadium perimeter and discouraged from gathering outside.

Supporters who had previously purchased match tickets or season tickets will mostly be refunded.

In order to create atmosphere, broadcasters will use pre-recorded crowd noise previously used in computer games.

Red zones

This zone, which includes the pitch, tunnel and technical areas, will be limited to 110 people.

Each team will be permitted 37 red zone passes. Of these, 20 will be for players, 12 for coaches and an additional five for essential staff members.

One referee, two assistant referees and a fourth official will also have red zone passes.

Green and amber zones

These will be accessible to the remaining 222 people. They will include broadcasters, 25 written journalists and 15 radio broadcasters.

All matches on TV

All the remaining 92 matches will be available to watch on live TV, including 33 of these fixtures on free-to-air television.

For the first time since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, the BBC will show top flight football live, with four matches.

No ball boys

With no ball boys allowed, they will be replaced by a "ball replenishment system" which equates to balls stacked on cones placed at positions around the pitch. They will be disinfected before use.

COVID-19 tests

All players and club staff are required to have two tests a week for COVID-19.

So far, after eight rounds of testing there have been 16 positive results including two from the most recent batch of tests.

More than 8,000 tests have been conducted.

COVID-19 passports

On arrival at the stadium every player and essential staff member will have to present a "clinical passport" - essentially a barcode which will be scanned to prove they tested negative for COVID-19 in the previous five days.

Changing rooms

Some changing rooms will be used but, when they are not large enough to allow effective social distancing, bigger rooms in the stadium such as function spaces may be commandeered.

Teams are not allowed to enter the pitch side-by-side through the tunnel, so will either come out one at a time or through separate entrances.

Home advantage gone?

While almost all fixtures will now be played at clubs' own grounds rather than neutral venues, as some police chiefs had called for, home advantage will likely be negated by the lack of home fans.

In Germany's Bundesliga which restarted last month, they have seen the percentage of home wins fall significantly.

Handshakes

Usually a key part of the pre-match ritual, this will be abandoned.

Players have also been asked not to spit or clear their nostrils while playing and they will have to use hand sanitiser when entering or exiting the field of play.

They will not be required to wear face masks while on the substitutes' bench, which is a departure from what was expected.

Five substitutes allowed

For the remainder of the 2019/20 season, teams will be allowed to make five substitutions instead of the usual three and will also be able to name nine substitutes instead of the usual seven.

This rule change has been rolled out because "matches may be played in a condensed period in different weather conditions, both of which could have impacts on player welfare".


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