10 ways matches will be different as Premier League resumes behind closed doors
The Premier League has set out how behind-closed-doors matches will be different to the norm due to social distancing guidelines and regulations to protect against the spread of coronavirus.
Action resumes on Wednesday after a three-month suspension as Aston Villa host Sheffield United and Arsenal travel to Manchester City.
Fans tuning into games can expect to see a number of differences to matches in light of Project Restart rules.
1. No fans in stadiums
Among the most obvious changes is that there will be no fans in attendance and therefore no crowd noise picked up on television.
But there will be a number of other more subtle differences in upcoming matches.
2. Teams emerging separately from the tunnel
To adhere to social distancing guidelines, teams will emerge from separate tunnels at stadiums where possible.
At grounds with only one tunnel, the away team’s players will enter the pitch before the home team joins them.
3. No hand shakes
Then, instead of assembling in a line for the Premier League anthem, players will adopt a staggered formation and there will be no pre-match handshakes.
4. Socially-distanced substitutes benches
Evidence of social distancing will also be seen on the substitutes benches, which have been expanded and seats relocated to ensure players sit at least two metres apart.
Managers and assistants in allocated technical areas are also urged to maintain social distancing.
5. No ball assistants pitchside
In terms of changes to the action itself, matches may see longer delays when the ball goes out of play, as there are no ball assistants pitchside.
Therefore, if the ball goes into the stands, the referee will decide if it can be retrieved or whether players will instead use one of the balls placed at the edge of the pitch.
6. Physios wearing PPE
Meanwhile, physios will need to wear PPE in order to deliver on-pitch treatment, two paramedics will be on hand and clubs will allocate two stretcher bearers.
7. One drinks break per half
One drinks break per half of up to a minute will be introduced, with each player drinking from a personal bottle and the time taken added on to the end of the half.
8. Up to five substitutions per team
Managers will be able to name nine substitutes for every match and make five changes, though only three players from each side can warm up at any one time.
9. No group celebrations or confrontations
Elsewhere, players must refrain from celebrating together or confronting the opposition or the referee.
Premier League officials have also been regularly tested for the virus ahead of the restart and VAR is set to continue in a socially-distanced Stockley Park set-up.
10. No spitting or nose clearing
Finally, spitting and nose-clearing is prohibited and hand sanitiser is to be used before and after games by all players and managers.
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