And they have also been told to thrash out a deal with television companies to ensure there are free-to-air matches when the competitions kick off again.
In the most definitive political approval of Project Restart and the EFL’s resumption plans, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden declared: ”The Government is opening the door for competitive football to return safely in June.
“This should include widening access for fans to view live coverage and ensure finances from the game’s resumption supports the wider football family.”
Dowden hosted a video meeting with the chief executives of the Premier League, the EFL and Football Association on Thursday, and sent them away to finalize their preparations for a return to action next month.
“It is now up to the football authorities to agree and finalize the detail of their plans,” Dowden said.
“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 to the game ahead of any final decision which would put these plans into action.”
After Dominic Raab last week said the return of the Premier League and football would ‘lift the spirit of the nation’, it has been clear the Government see football’s restart as an important staging post on the long road back to normality.
And ministers are adamant that football authorities and Sky and BT should come up with a scheme that will see a share of the matches being made available to those who do not have subscription channels.
Mirror Football’s Top Stories
- All 20 clubs’ stances on PL restart
- Mourinho declares the desire for return
- Alli speaks after an assault during a robbery
- Sign up to daily Mirror Football email
With the Government actively backing a June return and the police apparently softening their neutral venue stance, the only significant hurdle would appear to be the reluctance of players and staff to return to the pitch comparatively early.
But Dowden tried to reassure them, saying: “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.”
- Premier League
- Manchester United FC
- Manchester City FC
- Arsenal FC
- Liverpool FC
- Chelsea FC
- Tottenham Hotspur FC
- Sheffield United FC
- Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
- Newcastle United FC
- Crystal Palace FC
- Everton FC
- Burnley FC
- Watford FC