Britain’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed the English Premier League is on course to resume from the middle of June with plans being drawn up to show 3pm kick-offs on free-to-air TV.
No top-flight football has been played in the UK since early March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but with games set to return, the British government hopes that allowing everybody to watch football in their homes for free will encourage the public to stay indoors.
“I had some very constructive discussions on Thursday with the FA, the EFL and the Premier League,” Dowden told Sky Sports. “We are working hard to get it back in mid-June but the number one test is public safety.
“If we can do this in a safe way… they are looking at returning behind closed doors and they have met with Public Health England several times to look at the safety of that.
“If we can sort that out then I am hoping we can resume in mid-June. “We are also hoping to have something a bit more ambitious with a bit more free-to-air matches available.
“People can watch from home which will be helpful in discouraging people from leaving their homes in order to watch it, which we don’t want to happen.”
For Premier League football to return there will be a number of string criteria that must be met, such as regular testing for COVID-19 on players, coaches and staff.
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