How the new normality will look in the Premier League

Pre-recorded terrace chants will rumble around grounds after home goals, to restore some hint of home advantage.
How the new normality will look in the Premier League
With the Premier League set to return what will the game likely look like with new Covid-19 regulations?

Players will wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ on their shirts

In place of their own names, obviously — sponsors were hardly going to be displaced. Shirts will also carry a Black Lives Matter badge and heart-shaped logos in tribute to the NHS.

There will be a minute’s silence before the first games for Covid-19 victims. Players can take a knee before kickoff if they wish, with Fifa president Gianni Infantino saying this month that players shouldn’t be punished if they reveal anti-racism messages on their undergarments.

The Premier League has reportedly asked refs to show discretion. But who will be the first player whose handwriting doesn’t meet Mike Dean’s standards?

Teams can use five subs per game, naming nine

But only in three installments. How many Spurs’ stumbles will it take before José Mourinho chucks all five on together before half time, in a fit of pique? Neither subs nor coaching staff will have to wear masks, unlike in the Bundesliga. But everyone else in the stadium — up to a maximum of 300 — must, including the fourth official.

He’ll be expected to wipe down that sub’s board too, after use. There will be no ball boys or girls, rather a system of sterilised replacement balls.

Players will be asked to maintain social distance where possible.

No spitting or clearing of the nostrils, Kerry Dixon style. We will be denied a pre-match handshake controversy for the foreseeable. Elbow bumping will be allowed during goal celebrations. Presumably, referees might be encouraged to hurry things along when defensive walls have assembled. And might the customary clampdown on grappling at corners every time football restarts be even more strict?

No chance of a tunnel fracas either

If there’s only one tunnel available, the teams’ entrances will be staggered, with the away team going first.

To cater for summer conditions and rusty players, drinks breaks will be allowed during games, usually midway through the first half. Players will use their own water bottles.

Medical staff will wear masks when treating injured players on the field. And while the technical area can be used, managers have been reminded to observe social distancing in their customary friendly chats with the fourth official. The rest of the coaching staff must stay seated

Pre-recorded terrace chants

Yes, they will rumble around grounds after home goals, to restore some hint of home advantage. Chanting can also be pumped out at substitutions or VAR delays, but not during general play.

Clubs are allowed erect additional big screens to act as “fan walls” where 25 supporters from each club will broadcast their reactions via Zoom — presumably punters trusted to behave themselves.

“Stadium dressing” will cover the lower tiers of stands to take the bare look off things and reduce echo. Rather than pre-match interviews, a player from each side will record one minute of footage from the team hotel.

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