Premier League matches have moved closer to being broadcast free-to-air, while the Government has announced the formation of a task-force to help sport resume in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and MP for Hertsmere, said he had "productive discussions" with top-flight officials, and believes such a deal could be a "win-win situation" for supporters and clubs.

Sky and BT Sport have exclusive rights to show live Premier League matches in the UK, with the BBC holding a deal for highlights.

But with the planned resumption of top-flight football following the coronavirus suspension only possible behind closed doors, it negates the standard requirement for a Saturday afternoon blackout.

Dowden said: "I think that creates an opportunity for us to be able to get some sport, some Premier League free to air.

"I hope we can sort this out and also hope we can get more money going into the sport of football. I think we can find ourselves in a win-win situation."

Former England international Alex Scott will be among a select panel charged with finding creative ways to bring sport back in a shutdown environment, Dowden confirmed.

He added: "It (the task-force) will be made up of the brightest and the best from the creative, tech and sporting worlds.

"They will be advising me on how we find new and different ways to get industries back up and running."

Phase one of football's return was given the green light by Premier League clubs at the start of the week, allowing clubs to start small, socially-distanced training sessions from Tuesday.

Six people across three top-flight clubs tested positive for coronavirus out of 748 in the initial round of testing, including three at Watford - defender Adrian Mariappa and two staff members - and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder told Sky Sports: "A lot of people have been tested and the signs are encouraging.

"Testing has been very thorough. A lot of hard work has gone into to make sure this runs as smoothly as possible.

"It is baby steps in the process of returning to full training."