Premier League in advanced talks with Government over football return in June
The Premier League are at an advanced stage in talks with the Government over a return for football in June.
Mirror Sport understands there is a tentative agreement for the top flight to resume behind closed doors after the 20 clubs mapped out a plan with senior officials on a resumption of matches.
In principle, with Government health officials hopeful of a coronavirus peak in the UK in the next few weeks, they will sanction games under strict guidelines.
And at an emergency meeting on Friday the plan was discussed at length, with an accord reached in principle on a finish to the Premier League season should the situation improve as expected.
The plan – which has been discussed at the highest level – would see games played under strictly-controlled conditions behind closed doors.
League officials have also discussed extensive measures to keep the players in a sterile environment as much as possible, limiting contact with the wider public.
To ensure fans don’t try to attend games, there have also been talks with TV companies to extend the number of games screened during June, with clubs hopeful some can even be shown on terrestrial TV.
Sky and BT have rights to show some of the remaining fixtures but not a capacity to show all, and discussions have centred on a free-to-air agreement that will allow far more to be screened.
At present, the plan presented to the Government is in extensive form, with details to be fully thrashed out as the situation in the UK improves in the coming months.
While officials have offered tentative agreement, the Premier League is in no doubt that should the situation get worse in the UK over the next six weeks, a return would have to be delayed further.
But health officials have stated confidently that they believe a peak is close, and that distancing measures imposed on the public will begin to have an impact on the number of cases in the UK and the subsequent number of deaths.
Government sources have suggested things will improve by the middle of April, and there has even been talk in some quarters of games being allowed to take place in front of supporters if the situation improves dramatically.
The Premier League plan, though, has stuck firmly to discussions about behind closed doors games only, and that is the outline that has been given a tentative green light.
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