Premier League chief 'confident' of June restart

Ross Houston
May 23, 2020

Play has been suspended in England's top flight since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic, during which more than 36,000 people in the United Kingdom alone have lost their lives.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (2nd R) prepares to use his substitute players Sergio Aguero (C) and Phil Foden (3rd R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on 26 October 2019.

He says the Premier League is "as confident as we can be" about a return to action, yet it remains the case that nothing has been rubber-stamped.

Boston Globe  Boston Globe via Getty Images
Boston Globe Boston Globe via Getty Images

Among the top European leagues only the Bundesliga has resumed.

The Premier League have previously stressed games will only be played again when it is "safe and appropriate", with a targeted June 12 return date described as "flexible".

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

And Masters admits the Premier League has not broached with its member clubs the question of what might happen if the season has to be abandoned.

Most top-flight stars are back at work though, amid stringent testing and social distancing measures, and Masters said he would also have agreed to train, had he been a player. We have to respect players' decisions not to return to training.

Six individuals at Premier League clubs tested positive for coronavirus this week, including Burnley assistant boss Ian Woan and Watford player Adrian Mariappa.

"If it was starting tomorrow training 11 v 11 with contact, with everybody at the training ground, I would not go that's for sure", he said. "I think it is impossible because it would be less than three weeks' training after a long period without doing anything".

"We're talking to the authorities about that", he said.

"Everybody's situation is different but ultimately, for me, I feel very safe here at the training ground, otherwise I wouldn't be here".

Other reports by iNewsToday