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Premier League players could isolate together to complete season

A World Cup-style camp is one solution being considered by Premier League clubs as a means to complete the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It was reported on Monday morning that clubs could gather in a neutral location to play out the remainder of the season behind closed doors, with only those personnel essential to staging and broadcasting the games allowed to attend to minimise the chance of a coronavirus infection.

The PA news agency understands this is one of many ideas under consideration, with the 20 clubs due to convene again by conference call on Friday.

Bournemouth’s Wales international David Brooks provided a player’s perspective by saying he would be happy for the season to conclude behind closed doors.

“If the Premier League want to do that and the club are happy to do that then I personally don’t really have any problems with it,” Brooks told Talksport.

“No player will tell you it’s ever going to be the same without the fans.

“The fans can be that extra boost to get you the three points or to the point you might need.

AFC Bournemouth v Brighton & Hove Albion – Emirates FA Cup – Third Round – Vitality Stadium

Bournemouth’s Wales international David Brooks says he would be happy for the season to be finished behind closed doors (Mark Kerton/PA)

“It will obviously be more difficult. It’s not going to be good for any team to play without fans, but every team will be in the same boat.”

The picture in the UK has changed dramatically since the last meeting on March 19, when the decision was taken to extend the suspension of English professional football until April 30 at the earliest.

That suspension is almost certain to be further extended on Friday and, with the country now in lockdown, the league may prefer to follow LaLiga’s approach and suspend indefinitely rather than placing an arbitrary date on any return.

The clubs remain committed to completing the season and are keen to avoid facing any financial penalties from broadcasters for failing to fulfil fixtures.

Mikel Arteta's positive test for coronavirus was one of the initial causes of the Premier League's suspension of competition

Mikel Arteta’s positive test for coronavirus was one of the initial causes of the Premier League’s suspension of competition (John Walton/PA)

It has been reported that if no further matches were played, it could cost clubs £750million.

The idea of clubs gathering in one or two neutral venues, in isolation from the wider world, is likely to be looked at again on Friday along with other scenarios which have been modelled at previous meetings.

There are a number of difficulties with the idea, not least how to deal with the necessity to have medical staff on hand during a public health crisis, and how the format could survive even one positive Covid-19 test.

But the idea of multiple matches being televised on a daily basis throughout June and July, if the infection curve has flattened by then, could have some merit.