The English Premier League's plans to resume the season in June was given a major boost after the British government said it was "opening the door" for soccer to return in June when "safe to do so".
Secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said the a "positive meeting" with football authorities -- which included the Premier League, the English Football League and the Football Association -- to "progress plans" for football to resume.
"We all agreed that we will only go ahead if it is safe to do so and the health and welfare of players, coaches and staff comes first," Dowden said in a statement.
"The government is opening the door for competitive football to return safely in June. This should include widening access for fans to view live coverage and ensure finances from the game's resumption supports the wider football family."
While the government has given the go-ahead, Dowden said it was up to football authorities to finalise the details of how they would proceed, with the government offering guidance.
"There is combined goodwill to achieve this for their fans, the football community and the nation as a whole," Dowden added.
But Brighton coach Graham Potter - whose squad includes Socceroos stars Aaron Mooy and goalkeeper Mat Ryan - has some reservations about a possible return to training next week.
"There are concerns, of course, because we've come out of lockdown, the situation isn't totally resolved," Potter said..
"We're human beings like everybody else, we need that clarity if we can."
Meanwhile, Premier League players whose contracts expire on June 30 will be allowed to sign short-term extensions until the season ends, chief executive Richard Masters said on Thursday.
The EPL said clubs and players will have until June 23 to mutually agree contract extensions.
"What we decided today is to ensure as far as possible that clubs complete the season with the same squad they had available prior to the suspension of the campaign," Masters said in a statement.
"Players can extend their contracts beyond June 30 until the end of the season, but it must be agreed by both parties."
Australian Associated Press