In Brief

Today’s back pages: Premier League deadlock over pay and schedule, cricket’s in crisis and Toon deal to be finalised by May

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 17 April

EPL meets with much to discuss

The Times describes the stand-off as “deadlock”, while The Guardian deploys “loggerheads”, but one thing is certain: the issue of Premier League players’ pay cuts just won’t go away.

Last week the top-flight stars were accused by politicians of living in a “moral vacuum”, and although a scheme to donate money to the NHS was later launched, it appears there is still disagreement about what to do next about wages. 

The Times says that some of the leading Premier League clubs have “reached an impasse with their players on the wage cuts or deferrals needed to manage the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis”.

Naming Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham as among the clubs whose players are proving resistant to wage cuts, the Times says that a “depressing picture” is emerging of clubs struggling financially as the lockdown starts to bite. Only Southampton and West Ham United have agreed deals with the players. 

Tony Bloom, the Brighton & Hove Albion chairman, has mooted the idea of introducing a salary cap for top-flight players, which will be discussed today in a Premier League shareholders’ meeting. 

The Guardian says that also on the agenda is the “thorny issue” of the cut-off date for completing the season with many of the top-flight clubs adamant it has to end before 30 June otherwise a good number of their players will be out of contract.

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Cricket in crisis

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) having been suspended until further notice, there could be further bad news on the horizon for cricket. 

The Daily Mail says that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will meet next week to discuss the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis. 

It’s expected that the upshot will be:

  • the postponement of the Test series against the West Indies
  • the cancellation of the inaugural Hundred tournament
  • the rescheduling of the T20 Blast to the late summer 

Crucially for the ECB, says the Mail, Sky Sports agree with their thinking “and are unlikely to demand an immediate rebate on their £1.1bn television deal”. 

As for the West Indies series, the paper says that a three-Test series could be arranged in early July or, more likely, in September, “which would allow England to play their three-Test series against Pakistan as planned in August”.

Magpies deal done by 1 May

Newcastle United’s new owners could be installed by 1 May, claims the Independent, with the paper reporting the £300m takeover is progressing smoothly and is expected to be finalised by the end of April. 

The takeover bid is led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which will own 80% of the club, and the Indy says it does not anticipate any hold-up during the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test. 

Concerns have been raised by human rights group Amnesty that the takeover amounts to “sportswashing”, but the deal is expected to go through this month.

Today’s sport headlines

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