The English Premier League stepped up planning on Friday to resume the competition in neutral stadiums, holding separate talks with the government and its clubs to discuss the COVID-19 testing and logistics necessary.

Players at some clubs returned to training grounds this week for individual fitness work but Britain remains in a national lockdown until next Thursday.

Forms of social distancing will remain in place even if the lockdown is eased, but clubs are hoping squad trainings can begin within weeks. That would require the Premier League to buy thousands of COVID-19 tests so players and coaches can be regularly checked, but there are still shortages of them in wider society.

The aim is to resume the league after June 8 following a three-month suspension, with games without spectators in any stadiums. Police expressed concerns that fans could still gather outside stadiums if their team was playing at home.

So no team is now due to play any of their remaining matches in their own stadium because the league does not believe all 20 grounds would be granted a safety certificate with police and medical resources already stretched across the country dealing with the pandemic.