Premier League 'nowhere near' ready to restart, says Aston Villa chief executive Purslow

Aston Villa's chief executive Christian Purslow has admitted that Premier League clubs are “nowhere near having found the formula to complete the season”, but remains committed to seeing out the remaining games of the 2019-20 campaign.

England's top flight has been out of action since March 9, with the coronavirus pandemic having forced a halt to all sporting activities in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Countries across Europe are beginning to ease lockdown measures, however, with it announced on Wednesday that the German Bundesliga would return to action on May 15 .

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The Premier League remains focused on finishing up the season too, unlike France's Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie, but Purslow admits that there is still much to be discussed at the upcoming meeting between the top-tier teams on Monday.

“We’re nowhere near having found the formula to complete the season,” Purslow told The Times .

“I’m told how keen government are to get football back. I remain of the view that we’re going to complete this season and it’s a question of ‘when and how?’ Not ‘if’.”

Villa have been battling relegation since their promotion last term and would pull themselves out of the drop zone if they win their game in hand.

And while Purslow is understandably concerned about his own team's future, he feels that it is the “duty” of all 20 Premier League teams to find a solution that suits everyone.

“I have to look after my club’s interests,” he said. “But there is a duty on 20 Premier League clubs to find a formulation that we know is nowhere near perfect but gets football back to complete the 19-20 season so that crucial issues at the top of the table can be resolved but that doesn’t ask people to agree to incredibly damaging changes for their own particular clubs.

“I don’t think neutral venues is by any means the only issue that needs to be resolved that goes to the heart of ‘is this still a competition everybody signed up to’.

“It’s about anything and everything to do with full-strength sides and squads. What happens with sick players, or players who are symptomatic, that ultimately means you’re weakening teams. 

“There are a lot of teams mathematically capable of going down whose squads can’t survive three or four players failing ill, not being able to play. If Villa had to a play a match without [Jack] Grealish, [Tyrone] Mings and [John] McGinn the chances of winning that game reduce enormously.

“I don’t know what the solution is. I’d obviously like a rule that says we don’t have to play if our best players had Covid. We’re trying to complete a league quite quickly to give our broadcasters a product they want to show but how does it really work if after two games everybody’s off? 

“You tell me.”

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