Premier League chief admits season could still be abandoned

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Dan Burke

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Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has admitted it may not be possible to complete the 2019/20 season.

England’s top flight campaign has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus and there are still nine matches left to play.

Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top of the league but there is still plenty left to play for elsewhere.

And though Masters says they are “as confident as we can be” of being able to finish the season, he admits that curtailing it has not been ruled out.

“Curtailment is still a possibility and so what would happen in that environment is something we are yet to discuss with our clubs,” Masters told BBC Sport.

The Premier League are reportedly hoping to resume the season some time in June after clubs returned to training in small groups earlier this week.

“We’ve done everything we possibly can to make return to training as safe as possible for you and therefore for you and your family,” added Masters.

“We’ve put in place testing programmes and all of the different protocols in order to protect you and your livelihood, and we think it’s safe to return.

“We have to respect those players that take a decision not to return to training, that is their prerogative.”

Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté and Watford’s Troy Deeney are the two high-profile players who have so far refused to return to training due to coronavirus fears.

And when asked whether he would train if he was a player, Masters said: “I think I would. I’ve listened to all the arguments, I’ve been in the meetings, I’ve talked to the medical advisers, and I would be comfortable to do so.”

Whenever Premier League football does resume, matches will be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, and Masters has hinted that they will be taking a different approach from the Bundesliga, which returned to action last week.

“We’re speaking to broadcasters and clubs at the moment about what the Premier League’s going to look like on television,” he said.

“We’ve seen the Bundesliga last weekend. I think we’ll take a slightly different approach to it, so you may see some new things happening, but we’ll announce those things when we’re ready.”