13 May 2020

PL Return To Training: Tests, PPE & Social Distancing  (Sky Sports)

LiverpoolSky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol runs through the key answers from the latest Premier League meeting as players edge closer to a return to training...

Who was at the meeting and what was it about?

The Premier League met with players, the PFA and government experts on Wednesday morning to discuss players returning to training next week.

All players have been given a 40-page document on training protocols. Each club was represented on the videoconference meeting by their captain.

Some club PFA reps were also in the meeting. Club captains that attended the meeting include Jordan Henderson, Harry Maguire, Cesar Azpilicueta, Mark Noble, and Troy Deeney.

What will training look like?

Players will drive to training in their kit, alone in their cars. Their temperature will be checked at the entrance to the training ground. They will park in a designated space, three spaces away from anyone else.

There will be no food at the training ground. They will train in a group of five for a maximum of 75 minutes. They will be encouraged to wear a mask or snood. No tackling or spitting will be permitted. Everything will be disinfected, including the ball, pitch, goalposts, cones, and other training equipment.

Players must maintain social distancing at all times. If players are injured, they will be treated by a physio wearing PPE, which at minimum must include a mask, gloves and an apron.

After training, players will drive straight home.

Players will also be tested at least twice a week and have a mini medical to check for any underlying respiratory or cardiac issues. All players will be tested in the 48 hours before they train.

Foreign players returning to England will not be allowed into the training ground for 14 days.

The aim is to make Premier League training grounds among the safest places in England.

All clubs have to have a Covid-19 operational policy and a designated Covid-19 officer.

Do the players want to go back to work?

It is fair to say the majority of players want to go back but only when it is safe. If they receive the assurances they are seeking, then they are likely to agree to start training again in strictly controlled circumstances from next Monday.

Players want to know about what will happen to players who have asthma or other respiratory conditions. They want to know why official data shows that BAME groups are more likely to develop and die from Covid-19.

There are also questions about the so-called consent forms which players are being asked to sign.

Players are being asked to sign the forms to agree to abide by their club's Covid-19 operational policy but they have to be sure that they are not signing away any of their legal or employment rights.

The PFA also wants to make sure that players who do not want to return yet will be treated fairly and will not have their pay frozen or deferred.

What happens next?

The Premier League is also meeting with club managers on Wednesday.

If everyone is happy with the proposals - clubs, players and managers - then training can resume, if it is approved by the government and Public Health England.

The football authorities, including the Premier League, are meeting the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on Thursday.

The next Premier League shareholders' meeting is scheduled to take place next Monday.

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