Premier League clubs received a boost to their hopes of completing the season on Monday as the government published a “roadmap” that could see the return of elite sport in England from June 1.
As the 20 English top-flight clubs met for further talks on “Project Restart”, ministers announced plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown.
Under step two of that process, which cannot begin any earlier than June 1, sporting events would be allowed “to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact”.
Such events will only be allowed if sufficient progress is made in limiting the spread of the virus.
Premier League clubs had been planning for a return to action no earlier than the week beginning June 8.
English top-flight clubs were reportedly talking about a possible resumption despite growing disquiet among players over safety issues and divisions over proposals on how to finish the season.
Before the resumption of matches can be considered, protocols need to be agreed on how to return to group training safely and on how the Premier League would deal with positive tests.