Daily Briefing

Today’s back pages: Premier League players face strict lockdown to get season finished

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 30 March

Premier League lockdown

The tabloids are agreed that the Premier League will be completed this season but supporters will have to watch on TV. 

According to the Daily Mirror the Premier League powerbrokers “want to squeeze the remaining games into a confined time frame during June” so as to fulfil their broadcaster obligation. 

But the matches would be played behind-closed-doors with Britain likely to remain in partial lockdown at least until September. 

Although a definitive decision has not yet been reached, it is one of the proposals being examined between the Premier League, English Football League, Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association. 

The Sun says that if such a scenario is implemented then players will live in hotels as if on tour. 

“Keeping a team isolated as a unit would make it easier to prevent Covid-19 from spreading,” says the paper. “Players who have played at international tournaments would be used to the set-up, as they stay together in one hotel and only leave to train and play matches.” 

The Premier League has apparently pencilled in early June as the date to resume matches and they hope to finish the season by mid-July.

Man Utd ‘fully supports’ the collective aim to finish the season

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Kane: finish season by end of June 

Metro and The Times report the comments made by Tottenham striker Harry Kane who believes there should be an end of June deadline to get the season finished.

“The further this season is pushed on, it would have such a big knock-on effect for next season, with the Euros in 2021, and even the World Cup 2022,” the England captain told pundit Jamie Redknapp on Instagram.

“Football is secondary at the moment. I know there still have to be plans in place and I’m sure everyone is trying to do that. I know the Premier League will do everything they can to finish the season, and that they are looking at every option possible. 

“I think, for me, we do need to try to finish the season. But there needs to be a point where enough’s enough.

“Playing into July or August and pushing next season back, I don’t see too much benefit in that. But obviously I don’t know too much about behind the scenes and financially. 

“Probably the limit for me is the end of June. If the season’s not completed by the end of June we need to look at the options and just look forward to next season.”

Grealish ‘smash’

The news that Aston Villa ace Jack Grealish was allegedly involved in a car accident early on Sunday comes too late for most of the papers, although the Daily Express mentions it briefly on its back page. 

Instead the incident is reported online with The Guardian saying that an “investigation has been launched” after a Range Rover crashed into parked cars in the Dickens Heath area of Solihull on Sunday just before 10am. 

The paper adds that “the driver left his details with a member of the public before leaving on foot”. 

The Sun splashes the story on its front page, and is more candid in its coverage of the accident, alleging that video footage shows the Villa captain as “unsteady and confused” moments after his £80,000 Range Rover collided with a parked car.

The Sun says that far from leaving his details with a passer-by, the 24-year-old “was seen arguing with onlookers at 8am yesterday amid claims he had partied all night at a pal’s flat despite the virus lockdown”. 

The day before the alleged contretemps, Grealish posted a video online in which he urged people to stay at home during the government-enforced lockdown. 

“Protect the NHS, stay home, save lives,” declared Grealish. 

West Midlands police have said they are aware of the accident and the driver of the vehicle “will be spoken to by police in due course”.

Pandemic hits pundit pay

The latest industry to be affected by the lockdown is sports punditry, reports the Daily Mirror, with the paper claiming that Rio Ferdinand, Steve McManaman and Karen Carney are among the ex-players “set to lose out financially” as BT Sport tightens its belt. 

Apparently Sky Sports is still paying the wages of its pundits, three weeks after sport came to a sudden sport, but faced with the prospect of no live games for at least another two months, BT Sport “are ready to slash their wage costs during the crisis”.

Today’s sport headlines

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