• Quote: Should France, Italy or Spain close their leagues down for the season, it is likely to have far reaching consequences, together with England, 16 out of the 28 teams remaining in the Champions or Europa Leagues come from one of the countries

By Andrew Atkinson Chief Sports Editor

THE Premier League’s 20 clubs will remain on lockdown – indefinite – after a meeting, via video, in the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic sweeping the UK.

Talks between the Premier League, Football League and both the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and League Managers’ Association (LMA) took place on April 3.

Football fixtures in the UK had pencilled in a return in May. Following the decision the Premier League have followed in the footsteps of Spain and France, who have shut down their leagues for an indefinite period. Italy have talked of Serie A returning in late May.

The decision comes after the European governing body Uefa wrote a joint letter with the European Clubs’ Association and the European Leagues, urging domestic bodies not to abandon their competitions.

Leagues across Europe have reportedly been told that ending competitions early could result in them forfeiting Champions League and Europa League places.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, Premier League clubs could now offer their stadiums and medical staff to the National Health Service, knowing they would not be required, in the short-term.

Spurs are using the government’s furlough scheme to compensate laid-off workers by up to £2,500-a-month.

The Premier League has confirmed it will immediately donate £20million to the NHS.

Clubs unanimously agreed to consult with their players, concerning a 30% wage deferral, to assist with the payment of non-playing staff.

The world’s richest football league had been criticised for failing to take charitable action sooner, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock urging footballers to ‘play their part’ and help provide aid during the coronavirus situation.

The Belgian League is the first to declare its season is over, with 29 games out of 30 in the regular league programme played.

Should France, Italy or Spain close their leagues down for the season, that is likely to have far reaching consequences, given, together with England, 16 out of the 28 teams remaining in the Champions or Europa Leagues come from one of those countries.

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