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Premier League target swift return as government talks ongoing



Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden


Financial aid: Aleksander Ceferin

Financial aid: Aleksander Ceferin


Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

Talks are ongoing to get the Premier League up and running as soon as possible, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said.

Dowden's department is leading discussions on how professional sport can restart should coronavirus lockdown restrictions be eased, with weekly meetings from this week onwards due to take place between medical officials from the major sports governing bodies and representatives of Public Health England.

It is understood the Premier League's medical adviser, Mark Gillett, and the Football Association's head of medicine, Charlotte Cowie, will be among those involved in the Government discussions.

Any resumption of sport could only happen if the Government's five tests are fulfilled, covering such areas as NHS capacity, the availability of testing and PPE and a fall in the death and infection rates. It is accepted that for the foreseeable future this would be about sporting events happening behind closed doors.

The Premier League's resumption is being kept under constant review, with the clubs set to gather for a shareholders' meeting on Friday.

Dowden, speaking at a parliamentary questions session for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: "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."

Tottenham’s players will be allowed to return to their training ground today.

The Premier League club have insisted social-distancing measures will be respected at the Enfield Training Centre.

A statement read: “From Tuesday, the club shall be making a limited number of pitches available at our training centre for members of our first team squad to use for individual running sessions on a strict rotational basis.

“No more than one player per pitch will be permitted at any one time to undertake on-pitch exercise, with only a restricted number of the squad coming to the training centre each day.

“Each player will travel independently and arrive at the facilities already dressed in training wear before returning home immediately after they have concluded their session.

“All activity will be conducted in line with social distancing and  government guidelines.”

In Scotland, Rangers have been granted a general meeting for clubs to decide whether there should be an independent investigation around the vote on ending the season.

The Scottish Professional Football League board has set a May 12 date for a meeting after Rangers submitted a requisition backed by Hearts and Stranraer, two clubs who face the prospect of relegation as a result of the vote. Rangers need 32 votes in their favour to force the probe.

Meanwhile, Uefa is releasing just over £200m of HatTrick funding to national associations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Usually this money is released to develop specific and targeted areas, but because of the unprecedented financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, European football’s governing body will leave it up to its 55 member associations — who will each receive £3.75m — how best to use the money.

An Irish FA source told the Belfast Telegraph this money was basically an advance on cash due at a later date and therefore they would review the situation before deciding whether to accept it now or at the orginally scheduled time.

Belfast Telegraph