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Premier League discusses plans to resume season

Premier League clubs discussed on Friday how they could complete the season once the government determines it is safe to resume sporting activities during the coronavirus pandemic.

British authorities on Thursday extended the national lockdown for three more weeks, leaving it uncertain when players will be allowed to return to practice or hold matches, even without fans in the stands, as expected.

The league makes its plans aware that it will only be possible to play when there are enough tests available to detect COVID-19 and once medical services are available in the stadiums in order not to depend on the health authorities to face the pandemic.

It is part of what the league calls "complex planning scenarios" that are being designed around a period on a calendar in order to eventually play with the "full support" of the government.

"The health and well-being of the players, coaches, managers, team personnel and supporters are our priority and the league will restart only when there is a medical guideline," the Premier League said in a statement. “Today's meeting with the shareholders (of the 20 teams) offered an opportunity to discuss a model calendar. We maintain the objective of completing the 2019-20 season, but at this time all dates are tentative while COVID-19 continues to impact ”.

Liverpool hold a 25-point lead at the top of the overall table with nine games to play in their quest to end a 30-year drought.

Belgium is the only one of the major European countries that wants to finish the season in the first division, a plan that UEFA opposes.

The final Premier League game was played on March 9 before the competition was called off when Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the coronavirus.

Extending the season well beyond its original conclusion, which was planned for mid-May, has created complications for players whose contracts expire on June 30.

FIFA has asked players and clubs to negotiate a contract extension once the seasons have concluded, while UEFA has drawn up plans for Europe's leagues to resume activities for July and August.

The three divisions below the Premier operated by the English Football League announced plans on Friday to ensure that the remaining matches can be broadcast on television or via the internet.

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