Football could return, but with shorter matches, PFA boss says

5 May 2020, 09:31

Football could return in June, but with some significant changes
Football could return in June, but with some significant changes. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Football matches could have shorter halves with discussions around restarting professional football underway and Premier League matches looking set to resume in mid-June.

The Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has raised the possibility that halves may be shorter than 45 minutes as discussions continue about the Premier League's return.

The Premier League has been suspended since the 13th of March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Welfare and wellbeing of individuals returning to work is key and Taylor will pore over the plans as the Premier League looks to resume in mid-June.

English top-flight clubs have underlined their commitment to restarting the 2019-20 season on Friday, but said: "it was agreed that the PFA, LMA, players and managers are key to this process and will be further consulted".

Read more: What is the lockdown 'roadmap'? How will restrictions be lifted?

"They're not stupid," he said. "They will put safety first.

"There is a protocol being put together that is going to be presented, involving all medical experts and Government medical experts.

"There will be a meeting of the shareholders of the Premier League on Friday and then shortly after that the document of returning to work should be finalised and then in the following week, next week, as early as possible, that will be put to players and coaches," Taylor added.

"Then the practicality of all those issues and it will be looked at club by club."

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would welcome the Premier League's return in the right way.

"Well, I'm absolutely open to that, and horse racing too," he said.

"I know that both the Premier League and racing are working on how this might be doable in a safe way but that safety has to be paramount."

When Taylor was asked if it would benefit some clubs for the Premier League not to finish and it was decided all matches are void, he said: "We'll have to wait and see. I'm talking about a protocol that's coming out. I'm talking about the future.

"We don't know the future. What we do know is what propositions have been put, what ideas have been put, the possibility of having more substitutes, games possibly not being the full 45 minutes each way.

"There's talks of neutral stadiums. There's been lots of things being put forward.

"Try and wait and see what the proposals are, and then have the courtesy to let the managers and coaches and players also assimilate all those and come to a considered view."