Premier League: Training in small groups to start today
Premier League clubs have unanimously voted in favor of resuming training in small groups from Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic. EPL officials, medical experts and representatives from all 20 teams held talks on Monday via a video conference call and agreed to stage one of the return to training protocols. Here are further details on the same.
According to a report in Sky Sports, stage one enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing but contact training hasn't yet been permitted. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said they expect to have the first batch of COVID-19 test results by Tuesday afternoon and training can start to begin once that happens.
Masters said fitness levels of players are important before the season can resume. "I think once you know when you can start full contact training, and we've had a proper discussion about clubs over how much is required to create the fitness levels before they can start playing, you're then in a position to confirm when the season start date is," he said.
The league is flexible regarding a June 12 restart but want to do it in a step-by-step process. "We haven't changed the start date; we have to be flexible about it. What we don't want to do is continually to move that start date. So, we haven't changed it but we need to be flexible and acknowledge we're in a step-by-step process," Masters added.
In a statement, the Premier League said: "This first stage has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, 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 well-being of all participants is our priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process."
Meanwhile, a report in the BBC states, there will be surprise inspections, GPS tracking and video analysis in order to ensure clubs adhere to new safety guidance as they prepare for the resumption of the 2019-20 season. "Gradually, we aim to ramp that up so we can have an inspector at every training ground," said Richard Garlick, the league's director of football.
Masters also revealed that a trophy presentation for the title winners, likely to be Liverpool, remains part of the plans. He said: "We would try to do it unless it wasn't possible because of safety concerns."