Premier League targets behind-closed-doors-return in June

DCMS Secretary Oliver Dowden: "I personally have been in talks with the Premier League, with a view to getting football up and running as soon as possible"

Oliver Dowden is Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 0:39
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons that he has been in talks with the Premier League and is keen for it to return as soon as that is consistent with public health guidance.

The Premier League will hold further talks this week, as it targets a return behind closed doors in June - and it has the backing of the government.

All 20 clubs will hold their latest conference call on Friday, armed with the knowledge that the country's political leaders are also keen for the season to resume when possible.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden said in the House of Commons: "I personally have been in talks with the Premier League, with a view to getting football up and running as soon as possible in order to support the whole football community.

"But, of course, any such moves would have to be consistent with public health guidance."

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The government's next review of current lockdown restrictions is due on May 7, as detailed planning continues under a 'Project Restart' programme.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said on Monday: "I ask you to contain your impatience."

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Johnson says the UK is "making progress" and "beginning to turn the tide" against the coronavirus pandemic but urged people to maintain social distancing restrictions.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa gets past the tackle from Marc Albrighton of Leicester City 2:03
Sky Sports News chief reporter Bryan Swanson has all the latest news as the Premier League eyes a possible return in June - with the matches behind closed doors and potentially to be held at neutral venues

Sport will only resume when the government is satisfied its own measures are in place.

The Premier League, along with other sports, will have to meet specific criteria before a return including testing arrangements for participants, paid for by sporting authorities or clubs, and ensuring measures are in place to avoid fans gathering outside matches.

It has yet to be decided whether games will resume at approved stadiums, or at a neutral venue such as St George's Park.

The Premier League remains committed to completing the remaining 92 games of the season, in line with UEFA's recommendation.

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Henry Winter, Chief Football Writer for The Times, claims that voiding the season would be a surrender and has urged the Premier League and Football League to look at all options available to get the season finished

Neville: Players must get heads around having no fans

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Gary Neville says footballers need to 'get their heads around' the idea of playing behind closed doors, warning football is unlikely to return with fans for many months

Gary Neville has warned footballers to "get their heads around" the idea of playing behind closed doors.

"It's going to be strange," Neville said on The Football Show. "It's an awful experience when you are used to playing in front of big crowds. The Premier League lives off its stadium experience, the adrenaline gets pumping for the players and the fans get behind it.

"But we are going to be playing behind closed doors for months and months - probably into next year. We have to get our heads around that."

Read more from Neville here

How many people are needed for a football match?

Willian 2:59
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol says Premier League players who are abroad during the coronavirus pandemic have been told to return to the UK next Tuesday.

Sky Sports' Gerard Brand...

'The answer, as you'd expect, varies.

'Some reports suggest a Premier League game needs anything between 250 and 500 personnel present, whereas lower down in the Football League there has been suggestions that anything between 100 and 180 are needed in a stadium.

'As well as around 60-70 staff on the playing and officiating side, matchday and safety staff take up a large chunk, as well as at least 70 broadcast media for live televised games, 40 for non-live games, plus written press if deemed essential.

'In Germany, detailed guidelines have been published claiming a maximum of 322 people are needed in and around stadiums for a football match to go ahead.'

We look at the numbers involved here

Project restart: What's the state of play across Europe?

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted some of the gross inequity within the game
Image: When will the Premier League season finish?

With football suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, what is the current situation around Europe's top leagues?

England - Premier League

The Premier League will hold further talks this week, as it targets a return behind closed doors in June.

Scotland - Premiership

The SPFL board is due to meet on Monday afternoon for the first time since April 10, when all 42 SPFL clubs voted on proposals to conclude the season below the top division.

Italy - Serie A

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced professional sports teams can resume training on May 18 with Serie A potentially resuming in June.

Juventus were crowned Serie A champions for an eighth consecutive time
Image: Juventus were crowned Serie A champions for an eighth consecutive time in 2019

Germany - Bundesliga

The Bundesliga is ready to return on May 9 if the German government gives it the green light, league officials have confirmed.

Netherlands - Eredivisie

The Dutch Eredivisie season has been ended with immediate effect, meaning league leaders Ajax have been denied the title. There will also be no promotion to the Dutch Eredivisie or relegation from the top flight, following an agreement reached over a video conference call between the Dutch FA (KNVB) and clubs.

Find out the full story across Europe here

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