In a bold move on Thursday evening, the UK government said it is “opening the door” for the return of the English Premier League, according to the culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
With nine rounds of matches still to be played and clubs stalling over various agreements including playing at neutral grounds and the scrapping of relegation, Dowden went into crunch meetings with the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League on Thursday. In a rare result, he came out of the virtual meeting smiling, saying the talks were “positive” and they “progressed plans” for the sport to resume.
He said plans to resume professional football in England should “include widening access for fans to view live coverage and ensure finances from the game’s resumption supports the wider football family”.
“Project Restart” hopes for a return to action on June 12, with matches played without fans.
“We all agreed that we will only go ahead if it is safe to do so and the health and welfare of players, coaches and staff comes first,” said Dowden.
“It is now up to the football authorities to agree and finalise the detail of their plans, and there is combined goodwill to achieve this for their fans, the football community and the nation as a whole.
“The government and our medical experts will continue to offer guidance and support to the game.”