PREMIER LEAGUE chiefs have committed to completing the season by the end of July
But they have also been urged by the Government to screen all 92 remaining games — including some for FREE.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
In what could become a major hostage to fortune, Prem bosses backed the July 31 deadline during crunch talks involving Uefa, the major European leagues and leading clubs.
The agreement will allow outstanding Champions League and Europa League games to be played in August.
On a day of coronavirus developments, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed he has urged Prem chiefs to allow games to be screened live for free when the shutdown is over.
And EFL clubs have demanded three up and three down between the Championship and the top flight, even if the season does not finish.
We remain confident the leagues can finish. Most countries will be able to, although it will have to be games without fans.
European Leagues head Lars Christer Olsson
The agreement thrashed out by Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, clubs and the European Leagues umbrella group puts pressure on all nations to restart football by the middle of June.
European Leagues head Lars Christer Olsson, a close ally of Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, confirmed: “The ambition has been the end of July to finish domestic leagues, then we can try to play the final phase of European competitions in August.
“There will have to be some flexibility from Uefa.
“But we remain confident the leagues can finish. Most countries will be able to do it, although it will have to be games played without fans.”
Give now to The Sun’s NHS appeal
BRITAIN’s four million NHS staff are on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.
But while they are helping save lives, who is there to help them?
The Sun has launched an appeal to raise £1MILLION for NHS workers.
The Who Cares Wins Appeal aims to get vital support to staff in their hour of need.
We have teamed up with NHS Charities Together in their urgent Covid-19 Appeal to ensure the money gets to exactly who needs it.
The Sun is donating £50,000 and we would like YOU to help us raise a million pounds, to help THEM.
No matter how little you can spare, please donate today here
The 20 Prem clubs will hold another virtual meeting on May 1.
Club bosses want to begin training by the middle of next month and restart on June 8, although there are other models which foresee a more delayed return.
German clubs will meet today hoping to agree a resumption early next month, although that has been questioned by its Interior Ministry, concerned about health issues.
Despite Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte banning all games until September, France’s top two divisions have been told to prepare to restart on June 17, finishing the season by July 25.
Premier League bosses were put under pressure to end their opposition to screening all remaining fixtures in a Commons answer from the Culture Secretary.
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW
Don’t miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.
To receive The Sun’s Coronavirus newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.
To follow us on Facebook, simply ‘Like’ our Coronavirus page.
Get Britain’s best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.
They will be desperate not to imperil lucrative contracts with Sky Sports and BT Sport any further.
But Dowden told MPs: “I have said to the Premier League, I think it wouldn’t send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public couldn’t have access to it.
“I appreciate sports are reliant on the revenue they derive.
“I don’t want to be in the position of issuing a blanket mandate but I think they do need to be mindful of that.”
Championship clubs are determined to enforce the legal agreement between the EFL and the Premier League that promotion and relegation takes place.
There would be a blocking minority against any attempt to just promote Leeds and West Brom and create a 22-club top flight.
Promotion could even be settled by play-off games with the table used to decide who takes part.