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Government opens door for football’s return

The government says it is “opening the door” for the return of professional football in England in June.

The BBC reports: ‘Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said Thursday’s meeting with the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League had “progressed plans”.

He added that plans for the sport to resume should “include widening access for fans to view live coverage”.

Meanwhile, England’s deputy chief medical officer said any return would be “slow” and “measured”.

The Premier League met on Monday to discuss “Project Restart” and hopes for a return to action on 12 June, with matches played behind closed doors.

Said Dowden:”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,”

“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.”

He added that plans to return should “ensure finances from the game’s resumption supportsĀ the wider football family”.

The next meeting of Premier League clubs will take place on Monday, when top-flight players may return to initial group training under social distancing protocols.

Footballers have so far been limited to individual training but Premier League bosses hope a first phase of team training, under strict guidelines and restricted to 75 minutes, can begin next week.

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said: “There will be small, carefully measured, step-wise approaches to see what can be achieved safely. The first of those is to return safely to training, still observing social distancing.

“We will have to see how that goes before we can even think about moving on to the return of competitive football matches.”

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon