Thursday, 30 April 2020

Revealed: The protocols for the Premier League's June 8 'Project Restart'

Plans are being drawn up outlining how English football will look upon its return once the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted
The Premier League has put together a seven-page document detailing how the resumption of football in England could work in preparation for Friday's meeting to discuss a potential June 8 return.

The organisation's director of football, Richard Garlick, has drafted the rules that could be ratified in Friday's meeting.

It details that players will wear face masks at training grounds and that all equipment, including footballs, will be disinfected before and after use to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading among players and staff.

All participants will have to pass a Covid-19 Antigen Test (CAT) 48 hours before returning to training.
Social distancing will be in place; players will have to park their cars three spaces apart, massages won't be allowed unless approved by the club doctor and training will initially be limited to five players to a group. Spitting will also be banned at training grounds.

Some clubs have already allowed players to conduct individual sessions at their training bases. Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham and Brighton are among those clubs that have begun training.

Strict social distancing guidelines are in place as footballers continue to focus on fitness work ahead of the proposed restart. Premier League football has been halted since March 13 following Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta's positive test for coronavirus.

"This protocol will require the consent of all stakeholders and the agreement of clubs," the document said,  as first quoted in the Daily Mirror .

"No club shall permit or facilitate group training at its training ground before the date on which such activity is permitted by the government (‘Training Return Date’).

"Any such group training after the Training Return Date must be strictly in accordance with these rules. Training will initially recommence in the form of small group training and progress to team training over a time period mandated by the League on advice from the United Kingdom government."

UEFA guidance to European leagues is that it wants domestic competitions finished by the end of July to minimise disruption, which means that clubs need to be in full training by May 18.

The Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A are all committed to returning, with the German league deemed closest to a restart and already implementing similar measures. Meanwhile, governmental announcements have seen the cancellation of Ligue 1 in France and the Eredivisie the Netherlands.

However, there are concerns about the choice to restart from the world football players' union, FIFPro, who believe that a return risks sending a "bad signal".


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