The Premier League, which is suggesting a maximum of seven weeks to complete 92 matches, has set a tentative restart date of 13-14 June. The Football League’s proposed schedule is 56 days with 16 May the earliest requirement of players to return to training. Uefa’s executive committee has reportedly decided on Thursday that if leagues do not finish then qualification for Champions League/Europa League should be on sporting merit/points per game. For fans needing a football fix before that the German Bundesliga may return behind closed doors next month with BT set to show live Saturday afternoon football for the first time for over 50 years. A decision on the Bundesliga is expected later on Thursday.
The fate of this season’s Six Nations championship, abruptly curtailed in early March, is still up in the air and the July tour schedule looks all but doomed. There are also fears about the November internationals in Europe, which rely on visiting countries being able to jet in from the southern hemisphere. Domestically, all leagues below the top tier in England have been cancelled but early July is still being proposed as a possible date for the resumption of Premiership games behind closed doors.
The England and Wales Cricket Board is set to ratify a further delay to the season later on Thursday and most likely postpone the planned new Hundred series. A revised truncated schedule for the domestic tournaments could emerge from Thursday’s talks along with an expected delay to the June Test series against the West Indies, with the international fixtures set to be pushed towards the end of the season.
Donald Trump, given his penchant for the sport and his desire to get America open again, may be the saviour for golf fans with the PGA Tour planned to start on 11 June at Fort Worth, Texas, followed by three other PGA tournaments all without fans present. The Open has been cancelled and the first possible major could be the US PGA Championship in August. This year’s Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place in America but is likely to be delayed by a year.
Set to be the first sport out of the stalls with plans being made to resume almost immediately when restrictions are eased to allow it go behind closed doors. There is a list of tracks, mainly all-weather, most of which have on-site hotels where jockeys and officials could be quarantined for several days at a time while racing is on. Lingfield, Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Hamilton are first in line with hopes that Newmarket with its huge pool of horses could also return quickly and stage the replacement Classics. Royal Ascot is hoping to stage its traditional mid-June meeting behind closed doors.
The cancellation of Wimbledon has left a huge hole in the landscape – that could partly be filled by the first proposal for tennis’s return, a British top eight tournament in midsummer. The French Open has already been pushed back to September with the ATP and WTA tours having been suspended till at least mid-July, though that date seems wildly optimistic. New York has been severely hit by the pandemic and that will be at the centre of the talks when a decision is made on the US Open in June.
Reports on Thursday suggested the one-day Strade Brianche in Italy on 1 August could restart the cycling season. The Tour de France has been moved to the end of August but that prompted one prominent public health expert to say its staging would be a ‘recipe for disaster’ and create headaches for other lesser race promoters with the Tour of Britain (6-13 September) now set for a direct clash with the world’s premier cycling event. The Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España could take place in October and November respectively.
The organisers of the British Grand Prix have confirmed they would host two consecutive races at Silverstone this season if required and double or triple-headers at circuits behind closed doors is the likeliest scenario for motor racing’s premier competition with the Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July, in a country which has had a less stringent lockdown than most others, the first venue set for a restart.