Premier League put finishing touches with big kick-off return just hours away after three-month break due to coronavirus – The Sun

EXACTLY 100 days since the last ball was kicked, the Premier League is back with officials putting in the final touches ahead of Wednesday's restart.

Sheffield United travel to Aston Villa for a 6pm kick-off before Manchester City host Arsenal – but the games will be far from normal.

There will be no fans inside any stadiums this season due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

However every game will be televised to allow supporters to watch on from home.

A rigorous testing programme has been in place, showing only a handful of virus cases among the players and staff.

Yet maximum precautions are being taken.

Those inside and around the ground will wear facemasks and undertake social distancing measures where possible, with substitutes being placed two metres apart.

Each visitor must also undergo a temperature check to ensure they are not suffering from any Covid-19 symptoms.

Each team is to arrive on a number of buses, to ensure players and staff are appropriately spread out.

And the usual sight of seeing the two teams line up alongside each other in the tunnel is no more, with the sides walking onto the pitch separately.

In the game itself, social distancing and other precautions are advised if appropriate – but not to the detriment of the game.

Jostling for position at corners and rough tackles will remain the order of the day, although celebrations may be more muted.

After three months away and only a short pre-return training period, cooling breaks and five substitutes will be allowed for each team.

Pleasantries such as the pre-match handshake are also a thing of the past, replaced by a minute's silence for NHS workers who have died in the pandemic.

The first batch of matches will also see every player's name replaced by the 'Black Lives Matter' moniker, in solidarity with the anti-racism movement.

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