Premier League players vote to return to training in ‘Project Restart’ boost

Premier League players vote to return to training in ‘Project Restart’ boost

Premier League players have voted to return to the first phase of training this week following the coronavirus suspension. The Premier League held a meeting this morning with training schedules to be voted on.

And now it has emerged the players have accepted the Premier League guidelines and will return to the first phase of training this week, possibly as early as tomorrow.

Players will return to their clubs’ training ground and can take part in small group sessions but are still not allowed to take part in contract training.

The Premier League is hoping to return next month and wants to follow the Bundesliga, which started this weekend.

‘Project Restart’ has been planned with different phases to allow players time to get fit enough to return to action, but minimising the risk of players getting infected with the illness.

And clubs today were asked to vote on returning to small training sessions while Premier League protocals. 

The Premier League claim the voting was unanimous and released a detailed statement on the next step.

JUST IN: Premier League plans slammed by key player on Good Morning Britain

Premier League

Premier League: Players have voted to return to first phase of training (Image: GETTY)

It read: “Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to return to small-group training from tomorrow afternoon, the first step towards restarting the Premier League, when safe to do so.

“Step One of the Return to Training Protocol enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing. Contact training is not yet permitted.

“This first stage has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, Premier League club doctors, independent experts and the Government.

“Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure everyone returns to training in the safest environment possible.

“The health and wellbeing of all participants is the Premier League’s priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process.

“Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA and LMA as protocols for full-contact training are developed.”

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The announcement comes despite a backlash from some players on a potential return to action.

Some have voiced concerns over their safety, including Watford captain Troy Deeney who spoke on ITV’s Good Morning Britain this morning.

“I think the concern is very much that phases two [full contact training] and three [playing matches] have not been clearly laid out,” Deeney said on Good Morning Britain.

“There’s been a lot of, what I would class as very simple questions, that haven’t been answered.

“For example, you can talk about the BAME situation. Government guidelines are saying that it’s four times more likely for people of colour to get the illness and twice as likely to have lasting illnesses but there’s no extra screening, there’s no additional checks being done on any players because it costs too much money.

“Simple things like that are where people are asking questions and it’s not being answered.

“When people can’t answer the questions, you start to panic and start to worry.”

Premier League

Premier League plans were slammed by Troy Deeney on Good Morning Britain (Image: GETTY)

Deeney also questioned if footballers should be asked to take resources away from the NHS while they battle the disease.

“There’s a bigger question to be had here morally as well,” he added.

“We see a lot about care workers and key workers not getting tested and people dying in nursing homes, and things of that nature.

“Yet we’re expected to have just short of 3,500 tests per month as football players and PPE for all the staff.

“How long will be until that’s the players’ fault? Look at these prima donna footballers that are getting all this preferential treatment when there’s people dying on the street.”

The Premier League was hoping to return on June 12, but that date is likely to be put back after calls from players and managers to allow for around a month of training.

Raheem Sterling was vocal about the need to be training for around a month, while Steve Bruce called for six weeks of preparation.

Premier League

Premier League clubs will return to training this week (Image: GETTY)

“They are saying games started by June 12,” the City and England winger said on Sunday. “You can’t come back in with one-and-a-half or two weeks (of training). You’d need a full four to five weeks, especially if you’re going to go back into competition.

“You’re not playing friendlies, you’re playing to win. It’s going to count for something. You do need to do that preparation definitely – you can’t just go straight in.

“I know the clubs are in talks and doing their best to try and find the best resolution for this. But we’ve had a few meetings cancelled, even on Zoom, to talk about the restart so we just have to wait and see.”

Meanwhile former Arsenal physiology Gary Lewin detailed the issues facing clubs and getting ready for the return to playing.

He told the Daily Mail: “The amount of time they will have in full contact training before the first game is very limited, it could be just two weeks.

“It’s a bit like a boxer being asked to get really fit, but not punch anyone, and then go into a ring and fight. Although in a normal pre-season you do a lot of running, you would always interact with other players in term of tackling and closing down.

Premier League statement in full

Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to return to small-group training from tomorrow afternoon, the first step towards restarting the Premier League, when safe to do so.

Step One of the Return to Training Protocol enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing. Contact training is not yet permitted.

This first stage has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, Premier League club doctors, independent experts and the Government.

Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure everyone returns to training in the safest environment possible.

The health and wellbeing of all participants is the Premier League’s priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process.

Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA and LMA as protocols for full-contact training are developed.

“There will definitely be a high risk of injury because the players are not being exposed to normal levels of mental, physical and neuro-muscular work.

“There are two types of injuries – first the usual soft-tissue injuries, if they’re not conditioned enough and there’s not enough strength and power there due to the lack of contact training.

“Then there is the cognitive, neuro-muscular side of it, the reaction of the brain and the legs. If you’re slightly late for a tackle, or if you jump and your body can’t absorb the landing because your reaction time is slightly different, then the more significant injuries occur.

“That’s when you get ligament ruptures, serious knee and ankle joint injuries. You hear players talking about needing 3-4 games to get back because they’re a bit rusty – that’s the cognitive side of it, the neuro-muscular side.

“Take away all the weirdness of it being behind closed doors, the weirdness of testing, a build-up that is completely alien to what they are used to. From a physical perspective, they would have had very limited contact training, no match exposure and they are going into a 90-minute match.

“They are talking about June 19 but I would go for a week later.”

Published at Mon, 18 May 2020 14:02:00 +0000