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Football

UK govt gives green light to EPL return

No professional sport, even behind closed doors, will be staged in England until June 1 at the earliest, the UK government has announced.

The government has published a 50-page guidance document detailing how England will begin to ease lockdown measures.

Step two of that plan – which will not be allowed to start before June 1 – includes “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact.”

The document states that reopening venues that attract large crowds, such as sports grounds, “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”

Premier League clubs met on Monday to continue discussions on Project Restart.

The top flight has been suspended since March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic but is aiming to resume in June, with 92 fixtures left to play.

There will be no cricket played in England and Wales until at least July 1, following a decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

British horse racing had hoped to resume behind closed doors later this month, having been on hold since March 17.

Premiership Rugby is aiming for a resumption in early July, with nine rounds of matches remaining.

Under proposed rules for boxing to resume behind closed doors in July, fighters on British shows will wear protective masks during ring walks and could be banned from using a spit bucket between rounds.

The government’s current aim is to introduce step two on June 1 but only if sufficient progress is made in “successfully controlling the spread of the virus” and the lifting of restrictions could be delayed.

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