Coronavirus: Premier League Chief “Self-assured” Of June Restart

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“We’ve taken step one. It’s great for everybody, including the fans, to see our players back on the training ground,” Masters told BBC Sport on Friday.

Masters said he was once “as self-assured as we will be” that teams would be capable of start in June.

Asked whether the Premier League had an exact date for a return, Masters said the organisation needed to be “bendy”.

While the top tier is taking baby steps towards emulating the Bundesliga’s return to action, leagues in France, Scotland and the Netherlands have been deserted as a result of the pandemic.

Masters said he recognised the need for “contingency plans” and admitted “curtailment is still a opportunity”.

Watford captain Troy Deeney and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante have both opted against returning to training over health fears.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said phase two, the return of contact training in elite sports, could get government approval “later this week”.

But Masters admitted the Premier League will not approve that step until it is protected.

“We should not have taken step one to receive back to training whether we weren’t convinced we had created a very protected surroundings for our players,” he said.

“It is step one and we must be certain when we go to contact training we have completed those processes.

“We have done everything we perhaps can to make return to training as protected as imaginable.

“We think it is protected to go back. We need to respect players’ decisions not to go back to training. I would be comfortable to go back to training.”

Matches will be played at the back of closed doors because of the virus, but Masters said the Premier League want games to be staged at clubs’ normal stadiums slightly than impartial venues, which was once the original suggestion.

“We’re talking to the authorities approximately that,” he said.

“I do imagine we will appeal to fans not to congregate out of doors football grounds or go to other people’s houses to watch football matches in contravention of government guidelines.”

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