World Cup-style camp considered in bid to finish Premier League season

Premier League clubs could complete the season in a World Cup-style camp in one proposal to complete the current top-flight season.

Clubs remain committed to finding a way to finish their fixtures and avoid potential costs estimated to be around £750 million if no further matches are played.

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

Premier League
Premier League chiefs are considering ways to complete the current season (Nick Potts/PA)

The PA news agency understands this is one of many ideas under consideration, with the 20 clubs due to convene again by conference call on Friday.

Lionel Messi has revealed that Barcelona players have accepted a 70 per cent wage cut and pledged donations to help the club’s non-sport staff continue to receive their full wages.

Announcing the news on Instagram, Messi wrote: “The time has come to announce that, apart from the reduction of 70 per cent of our salary during the state of alarm, we are going to make contributions as well so that club employees can collect 100 per cent of their salary for the duration of this situation.”

Matchroom Boxing have confirmed the postponement of all their events scheduled for May, including bouts involving Dillian Whyte, Katie Taylor and Dereck Chisora.

Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn has suggested boxing could stage a low-key return to the schedules if the current social distancing regulations begin to be eased by June.

Hearn told Talksport: “We will make an official announcement today (about the Whyte show) but basically yes (the show is off).

“The problem is nobody knows, but we all hope we can return to some kind of boxing in June.

Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor’s bout against Amanda Serrano has been postponed (Richard Sellers/PA)

“Whether that’s behind closed doors at first, or whether that’s back with small-hall shows then we hope we can get to the bigger shows before the end of June.”

Hearn reiterated the prospect of moving Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev back to July 25.

The clash is still scheduled for June 20 at Tottenham’s new stadium, but the escalating health crisis – and a potential extension of the Premier League season – has made discussing a new date difficult.

Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua may have to wait for his next heavyweight title defence (Nick Potts/PA)

Hearn described the July 25 date as “more realistic”, and added: “I know there’s a bigger picture going on but everyone in sport right now needs to be working on a solution.

“It’s going to be an horrifically messy time for sports and businesses when we do come out of the other side, because the world won’t be the same again.”

The President of the Italian Footballers’ Association has admitted it is time to consider the possibility that the season is over due to the continuing coronavirus crisis.

Serie A
Paulo Dybala and Juventus face the prospect that the Serie A season is over (Marco Alpozzi/AP)

Damiano Tommasi responded to comments from Italy’s minister of sport Vincenzo Spadafora suggesting that he will on Monday propose a further extension to the suspension of all sport in the country.

Italy is the world’s worst affected country, with the pandemic death toll passing 10,000 over the weekend.

“Tomorrow (Monday) we have one more element on the table than in the past few weeks,” Tommasi told ANSA as reported on the official Footballers’Association website.

“Because after the words of minister Spadafora, the concern that the championships will end here is there.

“You must therefore ask yourself the problem of the end of the season from a sporting point of view, of contracts.”

All sporting events have been suspended in Italy until April 3, with some reportedly hopeful that the season could restart on May 3, but Spafadora has quashed that idea.

“It’s unrealistic to resume play on May 3,” Spadafora told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

“Tomorrow, I will propose to extend the stop of sports competitions of all levels for the rest of April.”

"Never has teamwork been more important in our society"#StayHomeSaveLivespic.twitter.com/ChojQGkDT7

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) March 30, 2020

England cricket captains Joe Root and Heather Knight have issued a joint letter to fans in which they praised the work of NHS staff at the frontline of the crisis.

In the letter, the pair wrote: “We’ve heard so many incredible stories of people doing that – in our local area and the country beyond – and it fills us both with pride.

“In our positions as England captain we’ve witnessed events that have had entire stadiums on their feet, but this pandemic has shown us who deserves the loudest cheers.

“To all those working on the frontline to assist the greatest in need, all those co-ordinating and delivering the supply of life’s essentials and all those as yet unsung heroes, we salute you.”

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