THE Premier League will return on June 12 and be staged behind closed doors at neutral stadiums – if the Government gives the green light.

The latest video conference meeting of the 20 “shareholder” clubs lasted some three and a half hours today as they debated a range of issues.

Clubs remain determined to finish the season if possible – as long as there is government approval.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signalled the national lockdown will only be eased in stages and not before next Thursday.

Clubs are hoping to begin some form of formal training from May 18, with a target for the return of games to resume the season on June 12.

The realities of Covid-19 issues worldwide mean clubs now accept fans will be banned into next season, although at this stage there is no date when supporters might be allowed to watch in the flesh again.

But it was agreed following a series of discussions and briefings that matches will be restricted to specific stadiums throughout the country.

That means the determination of some clubs to ensure themselves of “home advantage” in their remaining matches has been sacrificed in light of the coronavirus crisis.

The clubs have agreed with police advice that the chosen venues should, if possible, be away from congested urban areas.
West Ham’s London Stadium, Arsenal’s Emirates and the Etihad home of Manchester City look certain to be among the final venues chosen.

But no club will be allowed to play in their own own home ground in a bid to equalise the unprecedented scenario.

The clubs agreed to meet again next Friday, 24 hours after the next lockdown announcement.

And the scheduled May 15 meeting has been put back to May 18, giving the clubs more time to assess the evolving situation.