Southampton FC Premier League
St Mary's Stadium Southampton FC

The Premier League 2019-20 season resumes this midweek with two games which will ensure that all the 20 sides have played 29 games each. And then from the weekend, all the teams will look to conclude the ongoing season in its entirety.

The Bundesliga, La Liga and the Serie A have all restarted their respective matches meaning the English top division is the final top-five league to get back on its feet. The Ligue 1 season has been cancelled.

But this unexpected lockdown means not only the teams but also the authorities have had to ensure that all the safety measures are in place before the matches kick-off this week.

And in a bid to ensure all the government guidelines are being followed, the Premier League has come up with a long list of rules and regulations which will be enforced for the rest of the 2019-20 season, starting Wednesday.

New rules & regulations for Premier League restart:

Playing inside an empty stadium is just one of the changes but apart from that, there’s a series of things that will be tweaked when all the sides step onto the pitch.

Here’s a few of them, as put forward by the Premier League official website.

Bigger technical areas:

“Trainers’ benches will be expanded to enable social-distancing during the match.

“This can include using seats next to the bench or reallocating seats to provide the required distance between people. For example, substitutes can be seated in designated areas in the stands behind the benches. 

“Those people in the technical area must maintain social-distancing, with zones marked out to guide them.”

Rules for walking onto the pitch for kick-off:

The statement adds: “If there is only one tunnel available at the stadium, the away team’s players will enter the pitch first, followed by the home. At some stadiums, teams may be able to use separate tunnels to enter the pitch. 

“Both sets of players must try to maintain social-distancing while entering the pitch. 

“When they line up for the Premier League anthem, rather than form a straight line as before, players will now stand in a staggered formation.

“The traditional handshakes between the two teams will no longer happen and there will also be no handshakes at the coin toss.”

Replacement balls:

“There are no ball assistants in behind-closed-doors matches, so if a match ball goes into the stands, the referee will decide if the ball can be retrieved without a noticeable delay.

“If not, the referee will allow players to use spare balls placed around the pitch.”

Medical treatment:

“If a player needs treatment on the pitch, any club staff performing physiotherapy or soft-tissue treatment must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

A paramedic crew of two people will be in the Red Zone and clubs should name two members of Red Zone staff to act as stretcher bearers”

Drinks breaks:

“The referee will signal for drinks breaks to be taken midway through each half. The breaks should last no longer than a minute, with players drinking from their own bottles.

“The time taken for the break will be added to the end of the half.”

General guidelines for all the players:

– Maintain distance during goal celebrations
– No handshakes
– No spitting or nose-clearing
– Use hand-sanitisers before and after every match
– Players should use their own water bottles
– Avoid mass confrontations with opponents or match officials
– Try to restrict interaction with opponents after the match

Initially, there had been a lot of fears and doubts regarding the resumption of the matches and players like Troy Deeney have come out to publicly criticize this decision from the authorities.

But over the past couple of weeks, games in Germany, Italy and now in Spain have shown that if all the necessary precautions are taken then the ongoing season can be concluded without any major issues.

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