Healthy Secretary Matt Hancock warns Premier League of ‘paramount’ return condition

The Premier League must ensure that the safety of players and staff is “paramount” behind any decision to see the season resume in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pressure is mounting on the English top division to cancel the remaining 92 matches.

France, Belgium and Holland have all ended their highest domestic leagues prematurely.

But the Premier League are hopeful of coming up with a plan which would see football resume in June.

And Health Secretary Matt Hancock is open to the idea of sport returning as he also revealed horse racing is nearing a comeback.

“I’m absolutely open to [football returning] and horse racing too, and I know the Premier League and horse racing are working on how this might be doable in a safe way, but that safety has to be paramount,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I am open to that, but we’ve got to make decisions about what the relative priorities are about all the different things that could be reopened and do everything at the same time to keep [cases] down.”

Earlier in the programme former foreign secretary and health secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed the Premier League’s return could give the nation a morale boost.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor also appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme where outlined three suggestions which could see football return in a different format.

“We don’t know the future but we do know is what propositions have been put, what ideas have been put,” Taylor told BBC Radio 4.


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“The possibility of having more substitutes, games possibly not being the full 45 minutes each way with talks of neutral stadiums.

“There’s lots of things being put forward, try and wait and see what the proposals are.

“And then have the courtesy to let the managers and coaches and players also assimilate all those and come to a considered view.: “All I’m saying, there’s a lot of possibilities. Ideally, you want to keep the integrity of the competition.

“And of course, that was about playing home in a way. And it’s about having the same squad of players as ideally as before it was suspended.

“So there’s lots of talking points to be made, but above all, can the seasons be completed? As long as it takes?

“Can they be completed, but voice all, can they be completed safely?”

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