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Premier League plots June 17 return

London, May 28 (efe-epa).- Premier League clubs agreed Thursday to get the English top-flight season back underway on 17 June.

The date was set during a videoconference.

England captain Harry Kane, who plies his club trade with Tottenham Hotspur, tweeted: “Football is back soon.”

The first two games to be played following the three-month hiatus forced by the coronavirus pandemic will be Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United and Manchester City vs. Arsenal.

According to the local press, these first two games will balance out the number of matches played — putting each team on 29 — so that by the weekend of 19-21 June there will be an even playing field, albeit behind closed doors.

Clubs have been back at training for a week and a half and were permitted resume contact training as of Wednesday, according to the Premier League.

The successful return of the German Bundesliga behind closed doors and the relatively low number of Covid-19 cases detected among English professional players, with roughly eight out of a total of 3,000 tests, have given impulse to resuming the league.

There are a total of 92 games left to go in the English league with leaders Liverpool closing in on an almost certain victory having racked up 82 of a possible 87 points so far.

The Merseyside team must take two wins from their remaining nine games to ensure they are crowned champions.

Second-place Manchester City have 57 points.

Things are tight at the bottom of the league with Norwich chasing the pack with 21 points, Aston Villa on 25, then Bournemouth, Watford and West Ham all on 27.

Germany’s top-flight league was the first major European competition to get back underway without crowds. Bayern Munich took another step towards lifting the trophy with a win against Borussia Dortmund over the weekend.

The French and Scottish football leagues called a premature end to their seasons.

Spain’s La Liga aims to kick off again in mid-June with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis lined up for the first fixture.EFE-EPA

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