Premier League clubs have approved the resumption of close-contact training. It forms phase two of the top flight’s return to training protocols as part of Project Restart. The 20 teams made a tentative return to their training grounds practising social distancing last week.
The successful vote follows lengthy talks between club doctors, players, managers and relevant bodies on Tuesday. The Premier League was recently given the green light to step up the intensity of training, while matches behind closed doors are permissible from June 1.
A statement from the top flight read: “Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training, marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so.
“Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.
“The Premier League’s priority is the health and wellbeing of all participants.
“Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.
“Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA, LMA and the Government.
“Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow.”
Premier League bosses have earmarked June 12 as the date they want play to resume, although players and managers are looking for a later restart to ensure players’ fitness levels are back up to scratch. Tottenham vs Manchester United has been pencilled in as the game top-flight chiefs would like to kick off the return to action.
“Then the unknown comes into play. That shook us. We are now waiting for our next testing times to see if anyone else was in contact with the player.
“I imagine anxiety is there among the players. I can only imagine they are feeling the same way as I am.”
A number of players have refused to return to training due to health concerns including Watford skipper Troy Deeney and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.
Deeney said: “My son is five months and he’s had breathing difficulties. I don’t want to come home and put him in more danger. You’ve got to drive in in your own kit, you can’t have showers, then drive back in the same dirty kit you’ve got.
“If I’m putting my clothing in with my son’s or my missus’ it’s more likely to be in the house.”
Published at Wed, 27 May 2020 11:20:00 +0000