Coronavirus in Sport LIVE: Premier League ‘void’ ruled out by Uefa, UFC 249 new date, Arsenal stars flout lockdown – The Sun

PREMIER LEAGUE clubs hope they will return in training on May 9, SunSport can reveal.

Discussions are underway to allow players back to their training grounds in preparation for the return of the season, likely to be behind closed doors.

And Uefa have said that European places will only be handed out on sporting merit, meaning English clubs would be frozen out of the Champions League and Europa League if the season was voided.

Follow all the latest coronavirus in sport updates below…


    West Ham and Crystal Palace have pulled out of a pre-season tournament in Australia.

    The EVA Air Queensland Champions Cup was scheduled for July 11 to 18 and featured Robbie Fowler’s A-League team Brisbane Roar.

    However it has become the latest victim of the coronavirus pandemic with the extended Premier League season and travel restrictions meaning there was no way it could take place as planned.

    Brisbane Roar chief executive David Pourre told the Roar website: “These unprecedented times are challenging for everyone, and whilst it’s disappointing to have these exciting fixtures postponed, Brisbane Roar places paramount importance on the safety and well-being of our players, coaches, their families and our dedicated fans.”


    Arsenal have issued their condolences following the passing of former player Dave Bacuzzi at the age of 79.

    He died on Wednesday following complications related to Covid-19.

    The London-born defender also featured for Manchester City, Reading and Cork Hibernians.

    An Arsenal statement read: “Dave, the son of England international Joe Bacuzzi, was born and bred in Islington and an England youth international.

    “He joined us from Eastbourne United in March 1958 as a 17-year-old and remained with us for six years, playing 48 first-team games and more than 100 other representative matches before being transferred to Manchester City for £25,000 in April 1964.

    “The thoughts of everyone at Arsenal Football Club are with Dave’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”


    Gary Neville has admitted his dismay at those talking about returning to football during the pandemic.

    Having offered his hotels to NHS staff in between busy shifts, the ex-defender feels it is madness to try and work in players getting tested for coronavirus and staging games while so many are still being treated.

    He told Sky Sports: “It feels like a parallel universe. I have meetings with our two hotels, where we’re being told that people won’t be able to sit within two metres at restaurants, capacity will be down to 50 per cent.

    “Then you go into a meeting an hour later on football where they’re talking about players playing football, jumping for headers against each other, and you think well, hang on a second, I’ve just been in a meeting where we’re told you can’t even have people sitting at a table without being two metres apart.

    “It just doesn’t work. I thought a month or two ago that football could continue, that we could get behind closed doors, but now I’m very, very doubtful the more I hear, the more I listen.

    “One thing is, an employer cannot put an employee at risk based on health and safety grounds, there will be a liability issue for employers.

    “As a Salford City owner, I’ve got players who have potentially got diabetes, asthma, am I going to put them on the field and risk their safety for a game of football? The answer is quite simply no. I’m not sure how Premier League clubs will get around it.

    “The testing thing is nonsense, there is no way the Premier League can sell to the public that they’re going to have access to tens of thousands of tests while the front line workers are forgotten.”


    Millwall boss Gary Rowett wants the Championship to find a way to complete the 2019/20 season.

    Amid pleas to call it quits amid the pandemic, Rowett believes second-tier football owes a finished campaign to its fans – and is surprised lower levels have abandoned their schedule.

    He told Sky Sports: “I’ve always felt from an integrity point of view, and this is taking away all the scientific experts, I’ve always felt that it would feel pointless starting the next season without completing this one.

    “For me, the priority has always been to complete it but I don’t know if I’ll still have the same views potentially after our first game behind closed doors with none of our fans there, maybe at the end of that we’ll all feel like it’s not real football and it’s very difficult.

    “I was surprised when the lower leagues [non-league football] cancelled their season and almost null and voided them, which is very strange as if the Premier League should finish, why can’t the lower leagues as well because it means just as much to the fans there and the local communities as well.

    “I think the season has to finish somehow. If we can finish the season in June or July, you only have to start the new season in September, we’re not a million miles behind where we’d be in the first place.”

    Millwall, who have furloughed their entire squad in this period, are eighth in the division.


    Premier League clubs may be set for play-offs to decide who qualifies for next season’s Champions League and Europa League.

    Fresh guidelines handed out by Uefa on Thursday asserted that “sporting merit” must be used to determine which teams make Europe if the 2019/20 campaign cannot be completed.

    A number of ideas are therefore on the table, with reports suggesting either a unique play-off system or a points-per-game tally.

    Uefa has stated: “It would be preferable that suspended domestic competitions would restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit.”

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