Coronavirus in Sport LIVE: Premier League games ‘could be less than 90 minutes’, EFL may not start next season – The Sun

THE Premier League is planning to return on June 12 at neutral venues – but only if it gets the green light from the government.

However, PFA chief Gordon Taylor has stunned fans by revealing that playing less than 90 minutes could be one of the rule changes considered.

Follow all the latest coronavirus in sport updates below, underneath our quick poll…

  • CHAMP CASH CRISIS

    Football League (EFL) clubs are facing a “cash hole” of £200 million by September, chairman Rick Parry told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

    Parry, the former chief executive of Liverpool, was being questioned by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, and said all involved in the game, including players and owners, needed to “share the pain”.

    He said: “We are heading for a financial hole of about 200 million, a cash hole we need to fill, clubs will need to fill…the cash hole towards autumn looks pretty grim.”

    Parry said he was hoping the league would come out of the crisis “stronger, leaner more efficient, to have a proper reset” and said he hoped players would be willing to take pay cuts.

    “What was clear at the start of the process (was that) the players were not aware of the depth of the problem,” he said, adding that an “open book” policy from the league would help the players see the need for cuts or deferrals.

  • BACK ON THE GRASS

    Manchester United target Jadon Sancho is back in training ahead of the Bundesliga's restart with Borussia Dortmund.

    The star England winger, who is United's top transfer target this summer, has got back to business with Erling Haaland, Axel Witzel and Mario Goetze.

  • BUNDESLIGA RETURN

    German chancellor Angel Merkel is expected to approve the return of the country's top flight for next Friday, May 15.

    There have been bumps during the first week back at training, with Cologne having three players testing positive for Covid-19.

    And Hertha Berlin's Salomon Kalou suspended for filming himself breaking coronavirus guidelines.

    But the league is expected to progress as planned at the end of next week.

    Bayern Munich remain top, four points ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund with nine games to go.

  • TAYLOR MADE

    Premier League games could last less than 90 minutes when football returns, according to PFA chief Gordon Taylor.

    The controversial Professional Footballers’ Association supremo told BBC Radio 4: “I’m talking about 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 forward and ideas.

    “More subs, games possibly not being full 45 minutes each way, neutral stadiums, there’s lots of things put forward.

    “We’re trying to wait to see what proposals are and have the courtesy to let the managers and coaches and players assimilate all those and come to a considered view.”

  • TESTING GETS FULL MARKS

    Coronavirus testing will be available ahead of UFC 249.

    According to MMAFighting.com, the event will include both swab and antibody testing.

    UFC want the results available before the event, but in a leaked email, it is not specified how many tests will be taking place.

    Testing will begin when the fighters arrive in Jacksonville, Florida ahead of the event this Saturday where Tony Ferguson fights Justin Gaethje.

    STAY UP TO DATE WITH ALL THE LATEST UFC 249 NEWS IN OUR ROLLING BLOG

  • HOLD TRAFFORD

    As reported last night, United’s plan to increase Old Trafford's capacity will have to wait until the end of next season because of coronavirus.

    The Red Devils were planning on boosting attendances at home games by adding seats in the summer but they have been scuppered by Covid-19.

    The club had planned to increase capacity after the installation of 300 disabled positions in 2006 reduced the overall capacity from 76,000 to 73,300 but this is now on hold, according to the Mail.

    United were hoping to reconfigure existing areas to add more seats as stadium expansion poses significant logistical challenges.

    In 2018, it emerged the Glazers wanted to increase Old Trafford's overall capacity to a whopping 90,000.

    They planned to put an extra tier on the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand to boost attendances, but the ambitious and complex plan could have left the Red Devils homeless.

  • THUMBS UP FOR NRL

    Australia's suspended National Rugby League has declared it is “full steam ahead” for its May 28 restart after players agreed to 20 per cent pay-cuts for the abridged 2020 season.

    Players will be guaranteed 80 per cent of their salary in the 20-round season, which was reduced from 25 rounds due to the impact of the coronavirus.

    Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys said in a statement on Tuesday: “It is full steam ahead for the resumption of the competition on May 28.

    “All eyes will be on the NRL as the only live sport on television. There will never have been more interest in rugby league than on May 28.”

    The season was suspended after two rounds in March when travel restrictions and border controls aimed at containing COVID-19 made it untenable.

  • HIT & MISSY

    American swimming superstar Missy Franklin shares the pain of those athletes who have been forced to put their dreams of glory at Tokyo 2020 on hold, reports PA.

    The five-time Olympic champion is still haunted by her enforced retirement at the age of just 23 in 2018 due to a shoulder injury – wrecking her own hopes of becoming the most decorated female swimmer of all time.

    Franklin told laureus.com: “I never expected that my career was going to be over at 23. I never wanted it to be.

    “My ultimate goal was to be the most decorated female Olympic swimmer of all time, and I didn't get that.

    “That was something that from the moment I stepped on to the Olympic stage in London, I really, really believed I could do.

    “It makes a dream and a goal even harder to lose, when you really, truly believe that you can do it, and you don't.”

  • MACCY BIRTHDAY TO ME

    Rory McIlroy has been enjoying a birthday under isolation as he gets set to play in a coronavirus charity game in Florida.

    The £3.21million clash between Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Woolfe will take place on May 17 in a skins game.

    McIlroy said on Instagram: “Thank you for all the birthday wishes! Quarantined birthday with my family is all I wanted.”

    View this post on Instagram

    Thank you for all the birthday wishes! Quarantined birthday with my family is all I wanted. That and a @milkbarstore cake! 😍 #31

    A post shared byRORY (@rorymcilroy) on

  • GOOD MORNING SPORTS FANS

    Yesterday was a busy day as Harding Park golf course is set to reopen in a huge boost to PGA Championship going ahead after coronavirus lockdown.

    In tennis, Serena Williams played HERSELF at tennis in a brilliant Tiktok video in her back garden.

    F1 bosses revealed ambitious plans to start coronavirus-hit season with drivers tested every two days.

    And SunSport exclusively revealed the world's best modern pentathlete set up a SHOOTING RANGE in his back garden with his Team GB team-mate.

    In football, SunSport exclusively revealed Premier League stars will be banned from spitting and ordered to wear snoods or masks as the full list of training rules were revealed.

    Six Prem teams – including West Ham and Brighton – also emerged who are putting 'Project Restart' at risk because they do not want to play matches at neutral stadiums.

    But it was revealed top flight games will be shown on YouTube for FREE when the season resumes.

    And SunSport also exclusively revealed Wembley is back as a potential venue as club chiefs fight to return.

    But the Premier League's foreign players are facing pressure from their families over alleged railroading into a return.

    Their thoughts are in line with Ian Holloway who exclusively told SunSport he fears 'killing' players if football rushes to return from the coronavirus delay.

    Real Madrid were set a May 11 deadline for return to training with LaLiga planning resumption.

    Cristiano Ronaldo donated money to struggling lower league players not being paid.

    And finally, Tottenham are set for a £10m hit as the NFL cancelled all London games for 2020 season over coronavirus safety fears for players and fans.

  • “I’ve loved the Premier League this year. It’s been an incredible experience.

    “The questions in mind now are: How will it finish? When? If they postponed it, will I be back in it next year?

    “Thursdays, apart from the clapping at 8pm, are no different to other days.

    “I accept the lockdown but I miss playing Newcastle and Rotterdam. That was tough.”

  • DARTISTRY

    Glen Durrant joked he should be crowned Premier League Darts champ if Liverpool are handed the football title post-lockdown.

    The Middlesbrough thrower won four out of six matches in league combat to sit top of the nine-man table before the sporting shutdown.

    Durrant, 49, laughed: “If Liverpool are given the title, then give me the title as well!

    “I’ll take the £250,000 first prize, no problem…

  • “They may be able to argue that point. And they can always find an excuse not to make themselves available, citing an injury.

    “But it’s also the case that there’s an extra issue with French, Dutch and Belgian players.

    “Their families are asking why they are possibly going to be put at risk by the Premier League and their clubs when football has been stopped by the governments in their own countries.

    “At the same time, they are looking at a higher death figure in the UK — and yet seeing football wanting to return soon.”

  • SAFETY FIRST

    The Premier League’s foreign legion are coming under pressure from their families over allegedly being railroaded into playing again.

    Premier League chiefs are determined to bring players and coaches inside the tent and ensure they have a full voice in restart discussions.

    But there are particular issues with players from France, Holland and Belgium — where football has been cancelled until September.

    One PL insider explained: “There’s an argument that all players might have a legitimate legal standpoint to say their health and safety is being compromised, or even threatened by being made to play…

  • “Then we will have restrictions on how people move around in the paddock.

    “We cannot social distance within a team, so we have to create an environment that in itself is effectively a small bubble of isolation.

    “The teams will stay within their own groups and won’t mingle with other teams.

    “They will stay in their own hotels. So there is a tremendous amount of work going on with the FIA and I am very encouraged by what I have seen and what I am hearing that we will be able put on a safe environment.”

  • DRIVING TEST

    Formula One bosses have released details on their ambitious plan to kick-off their season.

    F1 chief Ross Brawn had already announced the sport wants to start in Austria on July 5 with a race behind closed doors.

    SunSport revealed how F1’s plans included chartering in flights to a nearby airfield and keeping teams in separate hotels.

    And now Brawn, who is also looking to do the same with Silverstone and the British GP, says F1 will also employ a vigorous testing system for the coronavirus.

    He said: “Everybody will be tested and will receive clearance before they can go in to the paddock and every two days they will be tested…

  • WEMBLEY WAY OUT – EXCLUSIVE

    Wembley is back on the agenda as a potential venue to complete the Premier League season.

    The FA had offered both the national stadium and St George’s Park to be used from June to August.

    Last week top-flight teams made clear they wanted only club grounds used as neutral venues.

    Government officials are in talks with stakeholders and yesterday stressed playing under the Arch should be a serious option as it fits all the criteria.

    As a result, Premier League clubs are expected to do a U-turn and consider the north-west London arena.

  • SHOT AN IDEA – EXCLUSIVE

    We're used to fencing in the garden… but not shooting!

    Britain’s Joe Choong – the world No1 men’s modern pentathlete – has found a novel way to keep training during lockdown.

    Making use of the warm weather, Choong and his GB team-mate and flatmate Sam Curry have set-up a makeshift shooting range in their own GARDEN in Bath.

  • HOLLOW THREAT – EXCLUSIVE

    Ian Holloway has warned that football could end up “killing” players if they rush back and he reckons if players do not die, then it could kill the bus driver taking them to games.

    He said: “You see a film about zombies and everybody runs away from them but if football kicks off too early we will be running straight at them.

    “We go too early with this and players might end up dying.

    “It’s madness to even be thinking about playing when the dangers — according to the Government — are as bad if not worse than when this all started. It’s not only players at risk.

    “I don’t want to be responsible for the death of the bus driver taking us to a game. How would I be able to look his wife and family in the face? I couldn’t live with myself.”

  • RON THE WAY BACK

    Cristiano Ronaldo has left Madeira to return to Italy with his family after nearly two months on his native island.

    The 35-year-old was chauffeur-driven to the airport named after him so he could board his Gulfstream G200 Galaxy on Monday evening with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez and four children.

    The £20million plane departed just after 6pm local time and is due to reach Turin in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

    Cristiano is expected to have to self-isolate for a fortnight on club orders before resuming training with the rest of the Juventus squad ahead of a possible return to Serie A football.

    Weekend reports claimed his return plans were being frustrated by Spanish airspace problems.

    But his private jet landed on Sunday in Madeira to take luggage and three staff including a bodyguard to Italy before returning on Monday evening to the island.

  • SAL DESTROYING

    Ex-Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou has been suspended by Hertha Berlin after filming himself singing a “corona song”, flouting social distancing rules and moaning about pay cuts.

    In an ill-timed Facebook Live video, Kalou, 34, is seen fist-bumping team-mates and staff and even barging in on a pal's medical check-up.

    Defender Jordan Torunarigha was seen having what appeared to be his test for coronavirus – with Kalou having seen his result come back negative.

    On realising Kalou was filming, the doctor administering the test quickly says: “Sala, please. Sala, delete that, please.”

    Kalou simply claimed he was “only joking”.

    In the video, he is also heard singing a “corona song”, while criticising the club's decision to slash wages, adding: “They took 11 per cent. Why are they f***ing with us?'”

  • TOUCHED DOWN SAFELY

    Tottenham face a further £10million cash blow with NFL chiefs set to cancel this year’s four “London Games”.

    Spurs had capacity 60,000-plus crowds for their first two games on the sunken artificial pitch at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with gridiron bosses hailing the spectacular new venue.

    Next season was due to feature the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins as the “home” teams, with two matches for Shahid Khan-owned Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley.

    But NFL bosses are understood to have now decided that the four matches slated for London, plus one set to be played in Mexico City, will now stay on US soil as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

    It will make 2020 the first year since 2006 that has not featured an NFL game in London.

    The decision is set to be confirmed in the coming days with the NFL – which made a significant investment in the new Spurs stadium – expected to insist this is a one-off move.

  • FREE FOOTBALL

    Some Premier League games are set to be shown on YouTube for FREE when the season restarts following the coronavirus lockdown.

    Under a proposal currently being discussed, all 92 matches still due to be played are to be broadcast on Sky Sports, BT Sport or on YouTube.

    It is hoped the 2019-20 season can still be finished in a jam-packed seven-week summer schedule

    But with games set to be played in front of empty stadiums, football bosses want fans to be able to watch EVERY game live.

    Under the plans, most games will be shown on main broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport.

    Amazon will have a selection of other matches and with no games due to be shown live on the BBC or ITV, YouTube is being discussed as a free-to-air option.

  • KALOU BELIEVE IT?!

    Salomon Kalou has worried Bundesliga football bosses after showing a video of himself shaking hands with teammates during a medical check at Hertha Berlin.

    Footage released by the ex-Chelsea man, and promptly deleted, showed him breaking social distancing guidelines and interrupting a check-up on a colleague.

    The top-tier German side have contributed to the 1,724 tests conducted across the country’s footballing system ahead of a hoped-for return to action this month.

    However a spike in virus cases would put that in jeopardy with three positive tests reportedly emerging at Koln.

    Last week, Kalou told BBC Sport it would be “awkward” returning to football at this time, adding: “Football is a sport of contact. You've got to have contact. So I'm very curious to see what the rules will be when it comes to playing the game again.”

  • ONE STEP CLOSER

    LaLiga president Javier Tebas has reaffirmed his commitment to restarting the Spanish top-flight next month.

    Coronavirus testing is expected to start on Tuesday with all players, coaches and staff needing checks two days before training can begin.

    The Associated Press have revealed a four-stage protocol is in place to gently ramp up training sessions over the coming month before a kick-off in June.

    Tebas said in a statement: “The return of football is a sign that society is progressing towards the new normal. It will also bring back an element of life that people in Spain and around the world know and love.

    “People’s health is paramount, so we have a comprehensive protocol to safeguard the health of everyone involved as we work to restart LaLiga. Circumstances are unprecedented, but we hope to start playing again in June and finish our 19/20 season this summer.”

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