Coronavirus: Premier League on course for June restart, culture minister suggests

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The Premier League appears to be on course for a June return after positive talks between the government and English football's key governing bodies.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden revealed that Thursday's meeting with the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League had proven productive.

The English top flight convened at the start of the week to discuss 'Project Restart', with June 12 the targeted date for action to resume, albeit behind closed doors due to the coronavirus crisis.

And after the latest talks between the major stakeholders, that hope remains. 

"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," said Dowden.

"It is now up to the football authorities to agree and finalise the detail of their plans, and 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."

Professional sport has been on hold across the United Kingdom amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Premier League was halted in March, with most clubs having just nine games left to play, and some have only recently returned to training under strict social distancing measures.

England's deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said: "There will be small, carefully measured, step-wise approaches to see what can be achieved safely. The first of those is to return safely to training, still observing social distancing.

"We will have to see how that goes before we can even think about moving on to the return of competitive football matches."