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Premier League reiterates desire to finish 2019-20 season amid coronavirus pandemic

20:36 BST 17/04/2020
Liverpool Premier League Jordan Henderson Mohamed Salah 2019-20
League authorities believe that the current term must be finished once teams are cleared to play once again

The Premier League has insisted that its first priority is to complete the current season once measures designed to restrict the spread of coronavirus are withdrawn. 

Football in the English top flight was brought to a halt in March as cases of Covid-19 continued to rise, with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi both testing positive prior to the suspension. 

So far, more than a month since the game stopped, there is still no concrete date in place for the return of the Premier League or other sporting activities. 

Clubs and league authorities, however, met on Friday as part of a series of summits aimed at getting the top flight back on track, although a resolution still appears to be some distance away. 

"We are acutely aware of the distress Covid-19 is causing and our thoughts are with all those directly affected by the pandemic," an FA spokesman said.

"In common with other businesses and industries, the Premier League and our clubs are working through complex planning scenarios. We are actively engaging with stakeholders, including broadcast partners, and our aim is to ensure we are in a position to resume playing when it is safe to do so and with the full support of the Government.

"The health and wellbeing of players, coaches, managers, club staff and supporters are our priority and the League will only restart when medical guidance allows."

Several scenarios have been reportedly considered amid the upheaval of the last month, including scrapping the 2019-20 season altogether and fast-tracking fixtures behind closed doors in order to finish before June 30. 

The FA revealed that several alternatives were debated on Friday but redoubled its commitment to finishing this term. 

"Today's shareholders' meeting provided an opportunity to discuss possible scheduling models. It remains our objective to complete the 2019/20 season but at this stage all dates are tentative while the impact of Covid-19 develops," the spokesman added.

"In response to the pandemic, the Premier League, our clubs and players have provided vital support for communities and the NHS and will continue to do so after matches recommence."