Premier League plan uncovered with 300 people at games ahead of crucial meeting vote

Posted Thursday, June 04, 2020 by

Premier League clubs will once again meet on Thursday ahead of the season restarting later this month as final details are voted on.

The Premier League have decided it takes 300 people just to stage a modern top-flight football match. Leonidas famously held up the entire Greek army at Thermopylae with exactly the same number.

Compared to what we are used to, though, the Premier League is about to have a very spartan feel.

The Matchday Operations Plan to be voted on today will put strict limits on those allowed in when the Premier League gets underway with Sheffield United's trip to Aston Villa in 13 days' time.

Tunnel bust ups. Managers knocking angrily on the referee's door. Stars being mobbed in the media mixed zone.

None of that will be remotely possible.

Premier League plan uncovered with 300 people at games ahead of crucial meeting vote
Premier League restart plans will be finalised on Thursday (Image: GETTY)

Before and after play, players will be separated – emerging from the dressing rooms separately so even the very best-aimed slice of pizza is unlikely to cause a fight.

The five officials – a spare is allowed in stands to observe the other four and step in should injury strike – will get changed in a separate part of the stadium, well away from irate bosses wanting a “quiet word”.

And the 25 newspaper reporters allowed into the ground will be told to remain at their desks from the moment they arrive an hour before kick-off. The post-match press conference will be conducted “virtually”, from seats in the stands via zoom.

Henceforth the area they occupy in the bowl of the stadium will be known as the “amber zone” - one step beyond the car parks and entrance areas which comprise the “green zone”.

It will be shared with 10 directors and executives and just six football scouts maximum – one from each of the opponents in the participants' next three games.

In all, just 105 golden tickets will be handed out for what has been dubbed the “red zone” - the pitch and the tunnel and dressing room areas.

Mascots are banned, regardless of whether they are young children or grown-ups dressed as garish latex animals.

Playing squads will be limited to 20. That comprises the usual 18-man match-day squad plus two on standby, although Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck will table a motion today to add the extra to an increased bench of nine from which five substitutes can be chosen.

Premier League plan uncovered with 300 people at games ahead of crucial meeting vote
Premier League restart: Liverpool just need six points to seal the title (Image: GETTY)

Support staff are restricted to just 12 in number – from kit man to coach, masseur to doctor.

Four doping officers will lurk as ever, somewhere in the background, to conduct the usual random tests.

Just beyond the ropes, it is the broadcast media who swell the numbers way beyond the 215 allowed into Bundesliga games.

Sky, BT, Amazon or the BBC, whoever is the host broadcaster are entitled to 98 accreditation passes alone, such is the complexity of modern television.

Just 15 international commentators will join them, the rest of the globe relying on commentary on the pictures beamed to their own countries. 15 radio commentators will be alongside them – two safe metres apart – trying to conjure images of their own.

Together with the pages of reports in the newspapers, the government hopes the media coverage will help convince the country things are returning to normal.

For those privileged 300, though, it will certainly be a very different normal.

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