Scenarios for a potential return of the Premier League

This picture shows the surroundings of Everton’s Goodison Park football ground on the day that the club should have played the Merseyside derby against Liverpool in the English Premier League, in Liverpool on March 16, 2020. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS / AFP)

English football’s major stakeholders will meet on Friday to discuss their options to rescue a season derailed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Premier League campaign has been postponed until at least April 30 because of the pandemic, but the chances of a return in May look bleak.

AFP Sport takes a closer look at the various scenarios that are likely to be considered in the talks over if and how to finish the season:

Go behind closed doors

One option is for clubs to converge on a neutral location in which all remaining games are played behind closed doors, with only essential personnel and broadcasters allowed to attend.

There is believed to be growing support among clubs for this plan, with nine rounds of matches potentially in line to be staged in June and July.

Fixtures would reportedly be played in one or two locations in the Midlands and London.

That could mean players and coaches being quarantined away from their families in World Cup-style camps to avoid infection, with stadiums, hotels and training facilities undergoing a deep clean.

A radical upturn in testing for the virus in the United Kingdom over the next two months is the key to this plan for a number of reasons.

Firstly, to ease players’ concerns of contracting COVID-19 while playing, but also to avoid criticism of privileged professional players being tested with mild or no symptoms if that is not available to the general public and in particular frontline workers.

If the curve of cases is not significantly flattened come the

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Messi confirms pay cut for Barca players, criticizes board

Barcelona’s Spanish defender Sergi Roberto (L) celebrates with Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi after scoring during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on February 15, 2020. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players will take a 70 percent pay cut and make financial contributions to ensure the club’s other employees are paid in full during the state of alarm in Spain.

In a lengthy message posted on his Instagram account, Messi also took another swipe at the Barca board, led by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whom he accused of undermining the players during recent negotiations.

Other Spanish clubs are expected to follow suit in applying temporary pay cuts, as football’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic leaves a number of them fighting for financial survival.

Atletico Madrid have said the club will impose salary reductions on staff whose hours have been affected while Espanyol have also confirmed pay cuts, although for sporting staff only.

“For our part, the time has come to announce that, as well as the reduction of 70 per cent of our salary during the State of Alarm, we will also make contributions so the club’s employees can collect 100 per cent of their salary while this situation lasts,” Messi wrote.

He added: “We want to clarify that our desire has always been to apply a drop in salary because we fully understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are the first ones who have ALWAYS helped the club when asked.

“Many times we have even done it on our own initiative when we thought it necessary or important.

“Therefore, it never ceases to amaze us that from within the club there were those who tried

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Kenyan captain donates to coronavirus fight in Nairobi

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 06, 2019 Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama poses for a photo session in Marcoussis, France’s national rugby training facility just outside Paris. The Kenyan national team captain, a Major League Soccer midfielder who spent the past seven seasons in the Premier League, is helping in his homeland’s fight against coronavirus. (Photo by Diane FALCONER / AFP)

Kenyan national team captain Victor Wanyama, a Major League Soccer midfielder who spent the past seven seasons in the Premier League, is helping in his homeland’s fight against coronavirus.

The 28-year-old Montreal Impact standout’s foundation has donated 200 sanitizing kits to needy families in his hometown of Nairobi in a project with the help of the Kenyan Red Cross.

“During this fight against coronavirus, it’s important that we all as Kenyans do our part to help stop its spread,” Wanyama said in a social media video. “If we all play our part, we’ll beat this.”

Wanyama, who has scored seven goals in 56 appearances for Kenya’s Harambee Stars, made his only start for Montreal earlier this month before the MLS season was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

He spent three seasons with Southampton and the past four with Tottenham Hotspur, becoming the first Kenyan to play in England’s Premier League after a two-season Scottish stint with Celtic.


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