Premier League

Premier League confident about June restart

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Richard Masters

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22/05/2020 at 17:54 | Updated 23/05/2020 at 08:34

The Premier League is "as confident as we can be" about England's top-flight football league restarting in June, its chief executive Richard Masters was quoted as saying by the BBC on Friday.

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The Premier League has been suspended since March 13 amid the COVID-19 crisis and June 12 has been identified as a possible date to restart. Players returned to training in small groups this week.

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Among the top European leagues only the Bundesliga has resumed.

"We've taken the first step," Masters told BBC Sport.

It's great for everybody, including the fans, to see our players back on the training ground.

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Masters said that the Premier League remains flexible on the date of resumption, contingency plans were needed and "curtailment" was still an option.

"We wouldn't have taken the first step to get back to training if we weren't convinced we had created a very safe environment for our players," he said.

"It is the first step and we have to be sure when we go to contact training we have completed those processes.

"We have done everything we possibly can to make return to training as safe as possible," he added.

We think it is safe to return. We have to respect players' decisions not to return to training. I would be comfortable to return to training.

Liverpool are top of the table with a 25-point lead over Manchester City.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Wednesday that the return of contact training in elite sports could get government approval "later this week".

One of the main sticking point for a return is believed to be all 20 clubs' preference to play matches in their own stadia, with the police said to be keen on neutral venues to avoid fans congregating outside grounds.

"We're talking to the authorities about that," Masters added.

"I do believe we can appeal to fans not to congregate outside football grounds or go to other people's houses to watch football matches in contravention of government guidelines."

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