Premier League season could still be abandoned

Getty Images

WATCH LaLiga LIVE & EXCLUSIVE on beIN SPORTS in Australia | available via Foxtel, Kayo Sports, Fetch TV & CONNECT

Suspended since March because of the coronavirus crisis, there are still nine full rounds of fixtures to be played, while four teams have an extra game on top of that.

Liverpool is on the brink of winning its first title in the Premier League era, but nothing has been officially resolved at the top or bottom end of the table.

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

"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 the BBC.

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.

A June resumption remains the league's target — 12 June has been mooted — but the end of May is already not far away and no precise plans have been confirmed.

Talks have been held over whether clubs will be able to use their own stadiums for games, or whether neutral grounds will be required, and some players have declined to return to training because of COVID-19 concerns.

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

Most top-flight stars are back at work, however, amid stringent testing and social distancing measures, and Masters said he would also have agreed to train, had he been a player.

Asked what his message would be to players, Masters said: "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.

"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."

Questioned on whether he would agree to train, 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."

The UK government has yet to give the go-ahead for contact training, which would be a major step towards getting the league back up and running.

In terms of the presentation of behind-closed-doors games, Premier League chiefs are looking closely at the example of the Bundesliga, which resumed last weekend.

WATCH the Bundesliga LIVE & EXCLUSIVE on beIN SPORTS | available via Foxtel, Kayo Sports, Fetch TV & CONNECT

Masters said: "We're speaking to broadcasters and clubs at the moment about what the Premier League's going to look like on television 

"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."

All games would be played without supporters but there remain concerns over fans gathering outside stadiums.

Masters said a trophy presentation would be organised when the title is won, provided the Premier League could facilitate the handover.