Premier League clubs, medical teams and other stakeholders have voted to resume training in ‘small groups’ from today, May 19, 2020. This decision was reached on Monday, May 18, during a video conference call.
The training in small groups is the first step towards the resumption of the 2019-2020 season which was halted on March 13 in order to contain the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic. All the clubs and other stakeholders are looking at the possibility of restarting the season mid-June, possibly on June 12.
In the meeting held on Monday, the stringent training protocols which were contained in a document sent to players and backroom staff were agreed upon. Meaning that all players and backroom staff have to be guided by the protocols until the next phase of the training and subsequent restart of the season.
In the document, an essential provision is that the players must obey the social distancing rule just like every other resident in the United Kingdom. Players will not be allowed to have close contacts with themselves as contact training is not yet permitted.
Also, the clubs are expected to coordinate the training in such a way that only 5 players are allowed on a training facility at a time. This 5 players must be supervised by at least an instructor.
Though the training has been permitted to start from today, yet, that won’t happen until the first batch of the coronavirus test result is out this afternoon.
According to the Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, restarting the Premier League on June 12 is not sacrosanct because the resumption will be determined by the fitness level of the players.
“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,” Richard Masters said.
“We haven’t changed the start date; we have to be flexible about it. What we don’t want to do is continue 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.”
In a statement, the Premier League issued after the meeting, the training in small groups was agreed upon after consulting with players, managers, Premier League 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 statement said.
“The health and wellbeing of all participants in the Premier League’s priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process.
“Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA and LMA as protocols for full-contact training are developed.”
Meanwhile, Newscaster United and Wolves were the first set of clubs in the Premier League that have taken advantage of the return to training in small groups. Newcastle announced that the players will return to the club’s training ground this week but without a specific date. While Wolves announced that their players should report to the club’s training ground today.