Project Restart Turns Into A Qualified Success
With several tweaks around the edges, the competition has a slightly different look and feel to it and with the introduction of larger matchday squads and drink breaks, player welfare has been supported to the hilt.
Now that as many as 20 players can be named within a squad, it has allowed managers the opportunity to not only dive deeper into their personnel rosters, but also rest and rotate with far more regularity.
With the fixture list offering an almost daily feast of football, the risk of burnout was perhaps more prevalent and therefore, the introduction of nine subs and the ability to introduce five of them during a Premier League clash, is a move that should be highly lauded.
Due to the mass of talent that each of the clubs in the division have, it could well be that the ability to name an enlarged substitutes bench and bring more players into the fold is one that is carried over to the 2020/21 season and beyond.
Of course, player welfare does not just stop at the hosting of fixtures, it covers any interaction within a footballing environment and with stringent testing measures in place, the tracking of coronavirus has been second to none thanks to the extensive guidance produced by the Premier League.
With constant testing in place, it allows grounds up and down the country to act as biospheres and with the knowledge that venues as far apart as St Mary’s to St James’ are as safe as they can possibly be, it fosters an air of confidence within the game.
Confidence that is not just within the grounds itself or among playing staff and management, but also for supporters watching at home and with them safe in the knowledge, that their beloved stars are also safe, it adds further positivity within the Premier League’s fraternity.
While it is supporters that will obviously be the next part of the restart process and although stadium doors will remain locked to paying customers for the rest of this season, plans are in place for attendance during the subsequent campaign.
This only reinforces the positive work that the Premier League board have done up to now and although the financial benefits are obvious when tickets can be sold, anything that potentially risks the safe landscape that has been crafted over the past couple of months is not on the agenda.
Obviously non-attendance is frustrating for all parties – none more so than a Liverpool side who have won their first ever Premier League title, but the further football collectively moves down the line and the closer that COVID-19 is to being eradicated, those stadium doors will then unlock.
Which is why the return of the Premier League and the way it has been handled has fostered so much goodwill. Goodwill that shows everyone is prepared to play by the new rules and rules that allow the show to play out to a rightful conclusion.
A conclusion that at times looked a million miles away and with so many hurdles to clear on both sporting and scientific fronts, credit must go to the Premier League for clearing them all and turning Project Restart into a qualified success.
Written by Dan Tracey
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