Premier League extends coronavirus pause, proposes 30 percent wage cut

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AP

Premier League extends coronavirus pause, proposes 30 percent wage cut

The Premier League is pushing back its restart date indefinitely amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it announced in a statement Friday.

After bringing together the league’s top officials on a video conference, it was decided that the original hopes to begin playing again at the beginning of May were premature.

“It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May,” the statement read. “And that the 2019/20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so. The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic develops and we work together through this very challenging time.

“The Premier League is working closely with the whole of professional football in this country, as well as with the Government, public agencies and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the game achieves a collaborative solution.”

[RELATED: Best PL storylines we would've watched if season continued]

Players also are facing a wage reduction of up to 30 percent as the league deals with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

Until health officials declare that social distancing regulations can be lifted, don’t expect to see much in the way of live sports.

John Oliver hilariously rants on Liverpool title paused by coronavirus

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John Oliver hilariously rants on Liverpool title paused by coronavirus

Liverpool halted the march to its first-ever Premier League title last week, and for good reason.

The league suspended play through April 4 after Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the coronavirus. The British government recommended Monday that citizens commit to social distancing and avoid large crowds "for some weeks," leaving the Reds' eventual coronation up in the air.

John Oliver, a diehard Liverpool fan and host of HBO's "Last Week Tonight," focused entirely on the latest surrounding the coronavirus in Sunday's episode. That is, save for the 30 seconds (and change) he allowed himself and his viewers to voice disappointment with something that the virus' spread has put on hold. Oliver, naturally, chose the Reds.

"Here's the thing: I've waited my entire adult life for this! They were about to win the title for the first time in 30 years. They were 25 points ahead of Man City! Twenty-five points! That's a historic margin, and you're telling me it could be for nothing?

"Mo Salah deserves to be a Premier League champion. Jurgen Klopp deserves this, and I know he's pointed out in a beautiful essay that you should look up that we should not worry about the league right now, we should keep things in perspective. But the very fact that he wrote something like that just makes me want him to win the title even more! I want to see the trophy go through the [Bill Shankly gates at Anfield]!"

A buzzer interrupted Oliver's opining, but the comedian paused a bit after saying it was "out of his system" and hilariously kept going.

"It just feels like they should really give Liverpool the league title because they've basically already won it," Oliver quipped. "That actually would be fair!"

Oliver noted that "[it's] not like anyone's gonna catch up from a 25-point deficit, anyway" after the buzzer's second intereuption but his production team wouldn't let him get another word on Liverpool in edgewise by buzzing in a third time.

"OK, ok!" Oliver said. "You're right! You are right! Sports are not important right now. They're not important right now. I mean, they're not really important ever, but they're especially not important now."

The Premier League is one of many leagues around the world -- soccer and otherwise -- postponing their seasons in order to halt the coronavirus' spread. Liverpool fans have waited three decades since their last top-flight title. If the Premier League ultimately resumes its season, what're another few weeks or months with public health in mind?

Coronavirus forces English Premier League to cancel matches until April 4

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Coronavirus forces English Premier League to cancel matches until April 4

The English Premier League has decided to follow suit with other professional sports and suspend games until at least April 4.

This is following Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta testing positive for coronavirus. 

Originally, the EPL was going to continue playing matches for the time being. After that announcement, the Arteta report surfaced and the EPL scheduled an emergency meeting. This was the result.

"Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said in a statement.

"In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority."

[RELATED: Sports awaken Americans amid coronavirus pandemic]

Thursday morning during the Liverpool-Madrid match, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp made it clear how he felt about it all:

The entire sports world has been taking quick steps in order to ensure the safety of fans, personnel and athletes are safe from the spread of the illness.