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Premier League clubs vote to r...
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Premier League clubs vote to resume training in small groups

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

14:36 18 May 2020

English Premier League clubs have voted unanimously to return to training in small groups this week. 

It paves the way for a return to the field by June 19th. 

Players will be allowed train in groups of no bigger than five from Tuesday, while also maintaining social distancing.

The clubs were presented with medical data regarding on-field player interactions aimed at easing their fears about resuming. 

StatSports - the company behind player GPS trackers - drafted a 'Player Proximity white paper'.

It claimed that the average close contact in training lasts just over three seconds, which is far lower than the threshold to contract coronavirus.

Those numbers are made even more appealing given that all activity takes place outdoors.

However, Watford captain Troy Deeney is among those that still needs convincing regarding the safety of a return to action.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Deeney said, "I think the concern is very much that phases two [full contact training] and three [playing matches] have not been clearly laid out.

"There's been a lot of, what I would class as very simple questions, that haven't been answered," the striker added.

"For example, you can talk about the BAME [Black, Asian, and minority ethnic] situation.

Government guidelines are saying that it's four times more likely for people of colour to get the illness and twice as likely to have lasting illnesses but there's no extra screening, there's no additional checks being done on any players because it costs too much money.

"Simple things like that are where people are asking questions and it's not being answered. When people can't answer the questions, you start to panic and start to worry."

However, players will be allowed to begin Phase Two of 'Project Restart' this week.

Clubs like Manchester United already have testing procedures set up for their staff.

A Premier League statement read:

Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to return to small-group training from tomorrow afternoon, the first step towards restarting the Premier League, when safe to do so. 

Step One of the Return to Training Protocol enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing. Contact training is not yet permitted. 

This first stage has been agreed in consultation 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 health and wellbeing of all participants is 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.

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