Premier League chiefs are now working towards restarting the season on June 1.

The United Kingdom government has permitted the return of competitive sport behind closed doors from Monday, with Premier League chief executive Richard Masters welcoming the decision.

Strict guidelines set out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Saturday must be adhered to, but professional sports will again be able to take place from June 1.

The Premier League has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic but is provisionally scheduled to restart on June 17.

Government minister Oliver Dowden said: “The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.

“This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors.

“It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it’s right for them to restart.

“This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved.”

Premier League clubs were this week granted permission to return to contact training, and preparations are likely to continue gearing up towards a restart after a three-month hiatus.

All of the remaining 92 fixtures are due to be broadcast nationally, though police have requested at least six – including the game in which Liverpool can clinch the title – be played at neutral venues.

There have been three rounds of coronavirus testing at top-flight clubs in the past fortnight, with 12 of the 2,752 tests returning positive results.

Premier League chief Masters was encouraged by the decision.

He said: “The Premier League welcomes the government’s announcement today [Saturday]. All major sports, including the Premier League, have been working together with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to produce this stage three protocol.

“We could not have reached this point without the full support of the government, especially DCMS, Public Health England and the chief medical officer’s team.

“We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on June 17, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

“This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers – along with all our other stakeholders – as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority.

“If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019-20 season in just over two weeks’ time.”

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