The Premier League season will resume on June 17, according to widespread reports, with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved..

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches will then take place the following weekend, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

The Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – is poised to confirm a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

Union Berlin have announced striker Sebastian Polter will not play for the club again this season due to "unsupportive behaviour".

The Bundesliga side released a statement on Thursday saying the 29-year-old, whose contract expires this year, has played his final match for the club.

He will, however, continue to train with the team.

Club president Dirk Zingler said: "It is one of the fundamental values of 1. FC Union Berlin that we, as Unioner, form a solid, tight-knit community in which we stand up for each other and for our club.

"Sebastian, the only player in the first-team squad, coaching and backroom team, does not do this, unfortunately.

"This is not understandable for us and extremely disappointing. It's my immediate task, during difficult times, to protect the cohesion of the club's employees and squad, so we do not jeopardise the goals on the park.

"We have therefore decided that Sebastian will no longer be part of our matchday squad with immediate effect."

Polter, who joined Union from QPR in 2017, has started only two Bundesliga matches this season.

He has scored twice in 13 appearances in the top flight in 2019-20, in a 2-1 loss to Bayern Munich in October and a 1-0 win over rivals Hertha Berlin in November.

Angelo Di Livio has railed against the idea of the 2019-20 Serie A season resuming, suggesting the campaign has become "meaningless" because of the ongoing fight against coronavirus.

Italy was one of the first European countries to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Serie A was halted in March as regions, particularly those in the north, struggled to stop the virus' spread amid rising death tolls.

While top flights in France and the Netherlands have been declared completed, leagues in Italy, Spain and England are intending to follow the Bundesliga's lead in Germany and resume with fixtures behind closed doors.

Clubs in Italy returned to training this month and it is thought the league will soon get the green light from the government to resume fixtures in mid-June.

However, former Italy international Di Livio, who won three Serie A titles with Juventus in the 1990s, is vehemently against the concept of restarting the league.

"I am against [the restart]," he told Stats Perform News.

"I am sorry. This season is meaningless. The situation is rife with too many casualties. What is the point?

"Who will have the guts to celebrate a title win after all this? Let's face it, guys. They want [football] to keep going behind closed doors? I know exactly what makes football go round and these situations, but I don't agree.

"I may be wrong, but I look at other things and I say this as a man who lives on and about football only.

"The situation has been ugly and critical and still in Lombardy nothing is clear yet, is it?"

There have been 231,139 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy, where 33,072 people have died with the virus.

Prior to the league being halted, Juventus were one point ahead of Lazio as they bid for a ninth Scudetto in a row.

Erling Haaland will end up in the Premier League but the Borussia Dortmund striker is unlikely to rush a move to England, according to Jan Aage Fjortoft.

Fjortoft, who won 71 caps for Norway in his playing career as well as spending time in the Premier League with Middlesbrough and Barnsley, has been hugely impressed by his compatriot.

Haaland and his management team have chosen their transfer-market moves with careful planning, a trend that should continue even if English clubs come calling for him again.

Manchester United were in the hunt for the Norway international's signature before he moved to Dortmund from Salzburg in a €20million January move.

The 19-year-old has gone on to score 13 goals in 14 games across all competitions for BVB and Fjortoft thinks the speed of his rise this season may have taken him by surprise.

"What I've been impressed by from Erling and the team around is they have chosen the places where he can develop as a player," Fjortoft said to Sky Sports.

"He went from Molde – where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was his manager, so you can imagine how hard it was for Manchester United not to get him when he moved to Dortmund – to Red Bull Salzburg.

"They chose to go to Salzburg because it is a great arena for a young kid, not going to Juventus when they had a fantastic offer from them at the time.

"And this time he went to Dortmund, which is the right place for him to be now.

"Do I think he will play in the Premier League in the future? Absolutely, I think he will go to the Premier League eventually, but where he will end up, I am not sure.

"It might take him some time; I think it went quicker than he had thought in Salzburg, with success in the Champions League, but he is in a good place now.

"I can't see him moving in the short term, but in the long term yes, of course, he will end up in the Premier League, like all big players will eventually."

Brescia president Massimo Cellino expects Mario Balotelli to leave the club at the end of the season as the striker "no longer has his head with us".

Balotelli signed a three-year deal with hometown side Brescia last year but his time with the Serie A strugglers has been plagued by numerous off-field issues.

The Italy international was involved in a training-ground spat with former head coach Fabio Grosso in November and was told he could leave the club in January after falling out with Cellino.

He remained at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti but failed to score in six matches before the coronavirus-enforced shutdown and is reported to have skipped training on Tuesday.

And Cellino is anticipating a parting of the ways between Balotelli and Brescia, who are are nine points from safety with 12 games to play.

"I try to avoid legal action and the Balotelli case was blown out of proportion because there's no football and little else to talk about," he told Telelombardia

"He no longer has his head with us and I am taking his departure for granted. It's not necessarily different to what he's always done in his career – he's just a bit anarchic.

"His contract is automatically annulled in case of relegation into Serie B, so with all probability he'll be a free agent next season, considering our status."

Balotelli has five goals in 19 appearances for Brescia this season and Cellino acknowledges the high-profile move has not gone to plan.

"[Former boss] Eugenio Corini cared for him, he allowed some lateness to slide, a few training sessions at a low tempo. We are disappointed, perhaps he will be too," he added.

"We didn't sign Balotelli just as a media coup, we really did believe he could've given us an important contribution on the pitch. 

"I thought, because I like him, that he could create something new for himself in Brescia. We are disappointed in him."

The English Football League (EFL) has revealed the latest round of coronavirus tests carried out across Championship clubs produced three further positive results.

A total of 1,030 players and staff members from England's second tier were tested over the course of a 72-hour period between Monday and Wednesday.

The results were announced on Thursday, with the three positive tests coming from two clubs.

Fulham confirmed two of the positive tests were from their players, who will now self-isolate as per EFL regulations.

"After the second round of league-wide testing for COVID-19 completed by Fulham FC players and staff this week at the club's training facility, we can confirm that two players have tested positive for Coronavirus," read a club statement.

"Both players, who shall remain unnamed due to medical confidentiality, are now self-isolating in line with league and government guidance."

Hull City, who had the only two positive cases in the previous round of testing, confirmed they did not have any this time around.

"Hull City can confirm that none of its players or staff are included in the three new positive results," the Tigers said.

"The two individuals who tested positive in the first round of testing last week continue to self-isolate at home as per government and EFL guidelines."

Only players who have tested negative are permitted to enter training grounds.

Championship football remains on hold due to the pandemic and no fixtures have been played in the 2019-20 season since March 8.

Manchester City Women have appointed former Wales international Gareth Taylor as their new head coach.

Taylor, 47, has signed a three-year deal to replace Nick Cushing, who left to join the coaching staff to join affiliate club New York City in February after six years in the role.

New boss Taylor has been in charge of Manchester City's under-18 team for three years, winning two Premier League U18 Cups.

He represented Wales 15 times in a playing career that saw him play for City between 1998 and 2001, earning two promotions at a time when the men's team were in the lower leagues.

City confirmed Taylor will start his new role with immediate effect and that he will be assisted by Alan Mahon, who had been in temporary charge.

"I'm extremely excited about the challenge ahead with a very talented group of players and staff who have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years," Taylor said after Thursday's announcement.

"I'm really honoured to have been appointed to this role and I can’t wait to get started with our preparations for another thrilling and competitive WSL season in 2020-21."

Atletico Madrid have been dealt another injury blow ahead of LaLiga's resumption, with Angel Correa struggling with a leg problem.

Earlier this week Atletico revealed that club-record signing Joao Felix had suffered a low-grade medial ligament sprain in his left knee.

Now, the club have confirmed fellow forward Correa has also sustained a problem, which they explained was a muscle injury in his left leg.

"Angel Correa ended Tuesday's training session with discomfort and was evaluated by the club's medical services," a club statement said.

"The Argentine underwent an MRI scan that confirmed he has a muscle injury in his left leg. He's pending response to treatment."

Correa has made 33 appearances in all competitions for Atletico in 2019-20, scoring seven times.

Last week Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed LaLiga could resume behind closed doors from June 8 following the coronavirus-enforced break.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas wants games to begin again on June 11, with the derby between Real Betis and Sevilla outlined as the preferred first fixture back.

Before competitions were halted in March, Atletico had qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals by knocking out holders Liverpool and were sixth in LaLiga, one point behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad.

The 2019-20 A-League season is set to resume in mid-July following the coronavirus-enforced break, provided broadcasters sign off on the plans.

The spread of the global pandemic meant the competition was put on hold back in March, a month before the regular season was due to conclude, with teams having between three and six games remaining.

While the top leagues in France and the Netherlands have been cancelled, the A-League has remained committed to restarting the season and unveiled their schedule for doing so on Thursday.

However, the final proposal, which would see the league and finals series wrapped up within a month, needs to be approved by broadcasters.

Football Federation Australia chief executive James Johnson said: "Ideally mid-June will see players return to training, allowing them to reach the required elite level of fitness for competitive matches to commence by mid-July, and for the A-League finals series to be completed by mid-August.

"The proposed timing will mean that the culmination of the A-League will coincide with the restart of Australian grassroots football, connecting the professional game and our two million participants like never before."

On needing approval from broadcasters before signing off on the plan, Johnson added: "That's the final piece of the jigsaw and once we have it in place we can move forward quickly."

When the season was halted back in March, Sydney FC had an eight-point lead over Melbourne City with three games in hand.

RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff insisted Timo Werner "won't get any cheaper" amid reports linking the forward with Liverpool.

Werner, 24, is reportedly a target for the Premier League leaders after scoring 30 goals in 39 games in all competitions this season.

According to reports, the Germany international has a release clause of around £49.4million (€55m) that must be triggered by June 15, but Liverpool are said to be unwilling to meet that price.

Mintzlaff, however, said there was no way Werner, who is contracted at the Bundesliga club until 2023, would be any cheaper.

"It won't get any cheaper. We will not sell a player below value if he is under contract for more than a year," he told Sport Bild.

"In general, we always have to ask the following question – can we replace a player if we sell him for less than his market value?

"But, I only think about those things once I have the facts on the table."

Watford captain Troy Deeney believes the integrity of the Premier League season is "already gone" and said the coronavirus pandemic has spoiled Liverpool's dominance.

Liverpool held a 25-point lead atop the Premier League table when the campaign was suspended in March due to COVID-19.

While the Premier League is bidding to restart its season, Deeney has spoken about his health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And the 31-year-old forward feels for Liverpool because their dominant season has been spoiled.

"I believe that when it comes to the integrity of this season anyway, it's already gone," Deeney told CNN.

"I feel sorry for Liverpool because no matter how it plays out, they deserve to win the league. They deserve to get the trophy.

"But no matter how it plays out, even if we play all the games, it's still going to be the year spoiled by the pandemic.

"It's not going to be that year that Liverpool won the league being the best team and, you know, it's 30 years they haven't won for."

Liverpool had won 27 of 29 Premier League games this season, with one draw and a loss to Deeney's relegation-threatened Watford, who ended their 'Invincibles' bid.

But Deeney said the integrity of this Premier League campaign had been ruined.

"I do feel sorry for Liverpool and their players and Jordan [Henderson, captain], but in terms of integrity, there's no way you could say that this is a viable competition," he said.

"It's like running a marathon, 20-odd miles, stopping for two months and then sprinting the last bit and going: 'Ah, that was a good time that.'"

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart claimed LaLiga would have been cancelled if Real Madrid were top of the table when the season was suspended.

The LaLiga campaign is set to get back underway next month, with Barcelona holding a two-point lead over Madrid with 11 games left to play.

But Gaspart, who was Barca president from 2000 to 2003, said it would have been different if Madrid were leading the league when it was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"If Madrid had finished as leader before the confinement, LaLiga would have ended," he told Tertulia del 10 del Barca, via AS, on Wednesday.

While Barcelona will aim to clinch the LaLiga title, they continue to be linked with former star Neymar, who could return to the club from Paris Saint-Germain.

Gaspart hopes the Brazil international ends up back at Camp Nou, where he left in 2017 for a world-record €222million.

"I would love to see Neymar at Barca. I understand that he can still contribute," he said.

"What I don't know is the fine print. I forgive what it takes to get him back. I would like him to play for Barca."

Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio says Lautaro Martinez will not be sold to Barcelona unless the LaLiga club pay his release clause.

Argentina striker Martinez has long been linked with a move to Camp Nou as a potential long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, but striking a deal appears to be complex.

Barca were struggling to free up significant transfer funds before the coronavirus crisis and are said to be prepared to sell a host of squad players and offer others in part-exchange deals in a bid to land their top targets.

Arturo Vidal, Nelson Semedo, Samuel Umtiti and Ivan Rakitic have all been touted as possible makeweights in any deal for the former Racing forward.

Inter, though, have made it clear that any club interested in Martinez will have to pay the full amount of his reported €111million buyout clause, which is said to contain certain clauses including the fact that it must be paid in a single instalment.

Ausilio told Sky Sport: "Lautaro Martinez is not for sale. Barcelona contacted us, we have a good relationship, but we told them we'll not sell Lautaro.

"If they want him, Barca must pay the full release clause.

"We want Lautaro in our team in the future. He will not be sold; the release clause is the only way. Barca know this as do the other clubs who contacted us. And Lautaro's release clause is so complicated..."

Chelsea and Manchester United have also been linked with the 22-year-old, who has scored 11 goals in 22 Serie A appearances this season as part of a formidable Inter attack alongside Romelu Lukaku.

Lucien Favre insists he is not about to quit as Borussia Dortmund head coach despite a Klassiker defeat to Bayern Munich that appeared to end their Bundesliga title hopes.

Dortmund could have closed to within a point of league leaders and defending champions Bayern with victory at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday.

But Favre's side toiled after a strong start and went down 1-0 thanks to Joshua Kimmich's stunning chip.

Former Hertha Berlin, Borussia Monchengladbach and Nice boss Favre has not won a league title since the 2006-07 Swiss Super League and has been criticised in some quarters for a persistent failure to deliver top prizes.

This perception was put to Favre following the Bayern defeat, and he told Sky Sport: "This has been said here for months. I know how to do it. I'll talk about it in a few weeks."

The coach's comments prompted speculation his Dortmund reign could end "in a few weeks" – a year before his contract expires – but he says he was misunderstood.

"I don't think about giving up at all," Favre said on Wednesday, as quoted by Bild.

"We were all disappointed [on Tuesday], but my words in the interview immediately after the game seem to have been misunderstood in many ways.

"The only thing I wanted to answer to relevant questions was that now is not the time to take stock of the season.

"Why? Already on Sunday, in Paderborn, we have to achieve a top performance again. We have to focus on that, nothing else."

Julian Nagelsmann blasted RB Leipzig for their early defensive efforts against Hertha Berlin before taking aim at the DFL for their "really s****y" Bundesliga scheduling.

Leipzig missed the chance to climb to second in the table and saw their slim title hopes reduced further in a 2-2 home draw against Hertha.

The Champions League quarter-finalists trailed early to Marko Grujic's close-range volley, and Nagelsmann fumed at the lax marking from a corner.

"I'm not at all satisfied. We have to ascribe this to ourselves," he said. "We simply have to learn so that we are not constantly lagging behind.

"In the beginning, we defended like a student team. The frustration is deep."

Leipzig still had the opportunity to take all three points as they hit back through first Lukas Klostermann and then, after an awful Rune Jarstein error, Patrik Schick.

An earlier red card for Marcel Halstenberg meant the third-placed side had their backs against the wall, though, and they could not cling on.

Krzysztof Piatek netted an 82nd-minute penalty and Hertha threatened a winner, remaining unbeaten under April appointment Bruno Labbadia.

And Nagelsmann suggested it was to be expected Leipzig would struggle, having played Mainz on Sunday, two days after Hertha's Berlin derby win.

"It was difficult to get into the game, which is normal; for us, it was the first 'English week' for months," he said.

"It wasn't an 'English week' for Hertha. They had a four-day break. I don't understand how the game is scheduled. Hertha play on Friday, we on Sunday and have our game on Wednesday.

"It is again the case that we get a really s****y game plan. That was addressed at the DFL meeting, but nobody is interested."

Labbadia was rather happier despite Hertha's failure to beat 10 men.

"The team played a really good game – above all, with the reaction after we went 2-1 down out of nowhere," he said. "Coming back was great.

"Usually that's the blow to the neck. But we showed a great reaction and more than deserved the point."

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