Top-flight clubs will work to standardised
return-to-training protocols as part of the Premier League's 'Project Restart'.
It is understood medical representatives from the clubs
gathered for a conference call on Saturday to discuss division-wide protocols
on a variety of subjects, including training and testing, to allow football to
return amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Regular testing of all players and key staff for Covid-19
will be a crucial plank of any restart plan, and the PA news agency understands
the cost of these tests will be met centrally by the Premier League.
All clubs will be working to the same protocols in terms of
training sessions, which will be designed to minimise the risk of infection.
These protocols, informed by Saturday's conference call, will be presented to
club executives at the league's next shareholders' meeting on Friday.
In Spain, La Liga has set out a four-stage phased return
building up from individual work to full group sessions before competition
Clubs have also been told that only approved stadiums can be
used, operating to a higher certification than in normal circumstances. It has
been reported that this could mean matches being played at neutral venues,
which would lead to questions over the integrity of the competition. Again, the
matter will be discussed further on Friday.
European football's governing body UEFA has asked its member
leagues to submit restart plans by 25 May, as it begins preparatory work for
next season's continental club competitions.
UEFA wants league seasons to be completed where possible and
issued guidelines last week stressing that qualification places should be
settled on sporting merit using "objective, transparent and
The Premier League has remained committed throughout the
pandemic to finishing the 2019/20 season if at all possible.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said on Monday: "I
personally have been in talks with the Premier League with a view to getting
football up and running as soon as possible in order to support the whole
"But, of course, any such moves would have to be
consistent with public health guidance."
The Premier League's medical adviser Mark Gillett, along
with the Football Association's head of medicine Charlotte Cowie, is understood
to be part of a group of medical officials from sport’s governing bodies who
will meet on a weekly basis with representatives from Public Health England, in
talks led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
June 8 has been reported as a potential start date for the
Premier League while the PA news agency understands that June 6 could also be
English professional football has been suspended since 13 March,
with the Premier League and the English Football League keeping a restart date
under "constant review".
- TEAMtalk media