In a radical move, Premier League clubs have discussed shortening the matches’ playtime as part of the Project Restart plan.
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard and resulted to football suspension, the different leagues have taken different measures to either end or try to resume. Just as German Bundesliga has kicked off testing of players, the French Ligue 1 already ended their 2019/20 season and declared PSG the league winners.
Similar to Premier League, the clubs are set and in agreement to resume. Though, the matches will be played behind closed doors. As part of the Project Restart Plan, the PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said the matches could last less than 90 mins.
The top-flight officials are considering a number of measures to improve the safety of players and staff. Among the measures also include neutral venues and extra substitutes in every game.
Asked about scrapping the current season, Taylor responded, “We’ll have to wait and see. I’m talking about protocol that’s coming out, I’m talking about the future.”
“We don’t know the future. What we do know is what propositions have been put forward and ideas. More subs games possibly not being full 45 minutes each way, neutral stadiums, there are lots of things put forward.”
“We’re trying to wait to see what the proposals are and have the courtesy to let the managers, coaches and players assimilate all those and come to a considered view.”
The idea of more substitutes
Questioned on whether having more substitutes would negate the need to shorten matches, Taylor added, “There’s a lot of possibilities. Ideally, you want to keep the integrity of the competition and of course, that was about playing home and away. That’s about having the same squad of players before it was suspended.”
“There are lots of points to be made. But above all can the seasons be completed?”
On the prospects of shortening the games, EFL chief Rick Parry said, “Talks have been held on increasing subs to five. The aim of shortening matches could only be to reduce the strain on the players who are coming back after a fairly long time away. I don’t think we should be ruling out any creative ideas at the moment. I haven’t heard that one before but no reason it should not be added to things to discuss.”