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EPL clubs could face bill of up to £340 million even if league resumes

As the English Premier League approaches resumption, clubs in the league still face a bill of over £300 million in broadcast fees.

Following a tentative green light from the UK government, the league’s clubs met on Monday to continue discussions of what has been dubbed ‘project restart.

While the league’s comeback will avoid what league exec Richard Masters estimated to be a loss of up to £1 billion in TV revenue, a discussed curtailment of the season could see the clubs be forced to pay back £340 million to domestic and international broadcasters.

This is as a result of matches not taking place as expected, with the remainder of the season almost guaranteed to be played behind closed doors and at different times.

Following the meeting, Masters said: “”We were able to update our clubs today on our situation with broadcasters. Whatever happens, there’s going to be significant loss of revenue for clubs. That is inevitable.

“We were able to paint a picture today about what would happen in various scenarios, playing out the season and not playing out the season, to allow them to have a picture of that as we stand in the early part of May. But in terms of putting an estimate on it, I don’t want to do that today.”

While the league members overwhelmingly favour a return, the prospect at the remaining games being played at neutral venues has been opposed by several clubs. While this idea has been raised in order to prevent fans from gathering outside their respective stadiums on match days, a number of clubs have called this unfair.

Masters said: ““Everybody would prefer to play at home and away if at all possible, and it’s clear to see some clubs feel more strongly about that than others. I think some of our clubs would argue that in relation to policing their own fans that they have a good relationship with them.

“They can encourage their own fans not to turn up outside their home venues while they’re playing behind closed doors, and they’re in a better position to control that, but it’s not a matter of convincing – this has to be a decision that’s come to mutually.”

The EPL will undoubtedly be paying close attention to the German Bundesliga which will restart this coming weekend with an audience predicted to be up to 1 billion viewers from around the world.