Premier League could return on TV amid COVID-19 restrictions, says Southampton CEO

Premier League could return on TV amid COVID-19 restrictions, says Southampton CEO
Martin Semmens, the Chief Executive of English top-flight soccer club Southampton, has said the Premier League could return and be broadcast every day while restrictions remain in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier League is currently suspended until at least 30th April amid the Covid-19 health crisis. However, concerns remain whether the competition will even be able to resume then as the UK government considers further restrictions to combat the spread of the virus.

Speaking to the BBC, Semmens said the Premier League should look to get back to playing, even behind closed doors, as soon as it is safe to do so, believing it will bring a degree of normality back to people’s lives as the global sports calendar remains in limbo.

“We have to do what is right and safe for the general public,” he said.

“When everybody is safe and we're not using up NHS and police resources, the government would like us to get back to playing because we are entertainment and a sign that the country is coming back to normal.

“If people are home for another month and Premier League football is on the TV every day that can only be a good thing. Not because we are more essential than the NHS but because we can give people entertainment and show that we're fighting back.”

Clubs remain hopeful of completing the season by the end of June, with any later date likely resulting in various legal wrangling from broadcasters and out of contract players alike. Last week, it was reported that the Premier League and its teams could face a UK£750 million (US$873.5 million) from its domestic broadcasters, including Sky Sports and BT Sport, if it does not fulfil its TV commitments before 31st July. 

“We hope to get the league done by the end of June,” Semmens continued. “As soon as you go past that date, there are legal challenges.

“If we ended up playing until 15th July and you had to extend a player's contract by two weeks, convincing a player to play two more weeks of football and get paid nicely to do it - I don't believe that will be a substantial challenge.

“The challenge is making sure we don't have a knock-on effect to other seasons and make football compromised for years to come.” 

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