Premier League 'nowhere near' formula to finish season - Villa's Purslow

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - Aston Villa - Dean Smith Press Conference - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - October 15, 2018 Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow during the press conference Action Images/Jason Cairnduff

(Reuters) - The Premier League is determined to complete the season stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic but is “nowhere near” finding a formula that would allow it to do so, Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has said.

Professional soccer in England has been suspended since mid-March because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, with the United Kingdom recording more than 30,000 deaths.

The 20 Premier League clubs discussed plans for a possible return to action in June in “approved neutral venues” but the league cannot take any steps until a government decision on possible changes to lockdown restrictions.

“We’re nowhere near having found the formula to complete the season,” Purslow was quoted as saying by The Times.

“I’m told how keen government are to get football back. I remain of the view that we’re going to complete this season and it’s a question of ‘when and how?’ not ‘if’.”

Villa were second bottom when the season was halted and Purslow has previously said relegation would be a 200 million pounds ($246.42 million) catastrophe for any club.

“Yes, of course I have to look after my club’s interests but there is a duty on 20 Premier League clubs to find a formulation that we know is nowhere near perfect but gets football back to complete the season,” Purslow added.

“People have to see through that we need 20 clubs to be happy and that’s the statesmanship job that’s needed at the moment in the league.”

($1 = 0.8116 pounds)

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford