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EPL club’s shock push for season to be finished in China

Finishing the Premier League in China has been mooted by one club as top-flight chiefs hold a crunch video conference on saving the season. Prem teams could lose £762million ($1.5 billion) from broadcasters if play fails to resume after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. And the more worried clubs become, the more outlandish some ideas are becoming, including completing the season in the country where Covid-19 began but seems to be recovering first. One chief executive toldThe Athletic: “The country that keeps getting proposed is China. “It just doesn’t make any sense. It is a crazy idea and I think it will get firmly rejected. “If we were to pick up the Premier League and move it to another part of world right now we’d get absolutely slaughtered.”

Uefa has cleared space to give leagues time to finish their campaigns. All international games have been put on hold until at least September, with remaining Champions League and Europa League ties also delayed. But with most Prem clubs anxious to play every league fixture - even if it means resuming as late as July - a new pressure has emerged. The government has joined fans and pundits in slating Prem stars for keeping their full wage pockets while hundreds of non-playing staff are furloughed. Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich have all taken advantage of the scheme, which was designed to help cash-strapped businesses retain employees. Harry Redknapp admitted he was gobsmacked by his old Spurs chairman Daniel Levy’s decision .

And health minister Matt Hancock is urging Prem players to “take a pay cut and play their part”. He added: “Given the sacrifices many people are making, the first thing PL footballers can do is make a contribution.” Redknapp himself said: “I can’t believe it. Surely players should be taking a cut. This isn’t for big clubs like Tottenham. “I thought the Government were going to pay ordinary people who are struggling and help small businesses who are struggling. “But you are talking here about a club where their players earn £10-12million a year.”

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has now agreed “players will have to share the financial burden”. They said in a statement: “We are aware of the public sentiment that the players should pay non-playing staff’s salaries. “However, our current position is that - as businesses - if clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should. “The players we have spoken to recognise that the non-playing staff are a vital part of their club and they do not want to see club staff furloughed unfairly.”

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