LONDON: The UK government has said it is “opening the door” for the safe return of professional football in England in June after a meeting with the sport’s authorities.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said discussions with the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League were “positive” and significant progress was made.

Top-flight clubs met on Monday to discuss “Project Restart”, with a possible return date of June 12 mooted – all games would have to be played without fans present.

Thursday’s announcement paves the way for the Premier League to resume at around that target date.

Any resumption would need to “include widening access for fans to view live coverage and ensure finances from the game’s resumption supports the wider football family,” according to Dowden.

He added: “We all agreed that we will only go ahead if it is safe to do so and the health and welfare of players, coaches and staff comes first.”

The postponement of matches in the top four divisions in England began on March 13.

Several Premier League clubs have already allowed players back into their training grounds to train individually, under strict conditions.

It is hoped that a limited amount of group training can start being reintroduced on Monday.