Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has outlined the conditions that the Premier League and EFL would need to meet for football to return behind closed doors.
Both the Premier League and EFL have been suspended since March 13 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
However, both have regularly reaffirmed that they and their clubs are committed to resuming and finishing the season once it is safe to do so.
But there is now believed to be an acceptance among those sides that the only way the campaign will be finished now is behind closed doors.
And Dowden, appearing before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee on Wednesday afternoon, has revealed the discussions he has had about sport resuming without fans in attendance.
“I personally have spoken to the Premier League while officials in my department are engaging across all the sports,” he said.
“We’ve actually had quite productive conversations. This would only be if A: We passed the five tests. B. Could we ensure it was done consistent with the existing measures in place around that time for social distancing C. Would we be content that it sent the correct signals?
“We wouldn’t want to be sending a signal that life has gone back to normal when we’re still asking people to take measures to protect their public health.
“Within that, we’ve already had productive discussions. We’ve already engaged, for example, with the Police, Public Health England, local government association, and others, so we are progressing this.
“I really want to get to a point where we have bottomed out – would this would in practice?
“Dealt with all the practicalities of it and then if the wider circumstances permit, we would seek permission through COBRA and others to do it.
“That is not what we are talking about right now but I want to make sure we do all the preparatory work.”
Before Dowden went on to explain the tests that might apply to sport for them to be allowed to operate behind closed doors.
“I think there is the safety of the participants. If you took football and horse racing, for example, it would be quite difficult to have the participants acting in a social distancing way,” he said.
“How would we resolve the social distancing part of it? It’s not insurmountable but it’s an extra consideration.
“The other extra consideration, in respects, of sports is that it has a much wider cultural significance and public engagement, I would want to make sure that the signals we are sending from that were consistent with the signals we are sending to the public more broadly.
“I think it’s sensible to have the engagement, think through it but I have been clear in all the conversations I have had that all of this is without prejudice.
“Let’s do the work and we will make the decision at the appropriate point in accordance with the scientific evidence.”