The Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ could be delayed until June 26 as managers and players argue for longer to prepare for competitive games. The Premier League members will meet tomorrow to sign off on a return to group training for early as Tuesday, although social distancing will still be in place meaning sessions will not involve contact until at least June 1.
From there managers are believed to want around four weeks to get players up to speed and ready to play competitive games again, meaning June 26 could be the new start date, according to the Mail on Sunday.
That would be a blow to getting the season finished with the preference still to start playing from mid June.
Monday’s meeting is to discuss training protocols and to ramp up sessions that currently only include individual sessions.
However group sessions are complicated by the fact players would still need to practice social distancing until June 1.
Players will have to take two coronavirus tests before returning to training – with both coming back negative, with some players now waiting for the results of their first test.
The Bundesliga returned yesterday with games behind closed doors and new protocols in place.
Players were not supposed to celebrate together and substitutes were to sit apart from each other and wear masks.
Borussia Dortmund beat Schalke 4-0 while RB Leipzig were held to a 1-1 draw by Freiburg in the two biggest matches of the day. Bayern Munich face Union Berlin this afternoon.
However many Premier League players have spoken up against returning to action while people are still dying in such big numbers from the virus.
Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero from Manchester City have admitted players are unsure, while Glenn Murray thinks the Premier League should wait longer to return.
Danny Rose, Tyrone Mings and several others have also voiced their concerns, while Wayne Rooney wrote about it in his Sunday Times column today.
He said: “I’m desperate to train and play again but it feels like football in England is being pushed to return too soon.
“Our government says people can return to work but only with social distancing in the workplace and that does not work in football.
“So I don’t get it: until the government gives the green light to have physical contact, we can’t train or prepare properly.”
He added: “I understand where Troy Deeney, Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling are coming from.
“The concern is not so much for ourselves, like whether you might pick up an injury, but more about bringing coronavirus home and infecting those around us. People’s lives are at risk.”
Rooney also stressed he was surprised by the lack of communication, at least to him, from the decision-makers in the game.
“Something that has surprised me is how little our opinions seem to count,” he said.
“The Premier League engaged with players via the managers and captains.
“But as club captain at Derby, I have not received so much as a phone call from the EFL or PFA to ask how Derby’s players feel about returning.”
Published at Sun, 17 May 2020 08:41:00 +0000