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Project Restart: No tackling, twice-weekly testing

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Official protocols sent to clubs with guidelines on social distancing

Everton v Swansea City - Premier League - Goodison Park Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

Documents obtained by the BBC seem to indicate some basic guidelines have been sent to all the Premier League teams in preparation for training to resume on Monday.

There has been no football since the Premier League was suspended on March 13th following the COVID-19 outbreak, but there seems to be a school of thought that training can start again while being limited to 75-minute sessions, along with numerous other protocols to be followed.

The first phase of team training will see players restricted to groups of five with tackling banned. Disinfection will be widespread, with pitches spread and related accessories like corner-flags, balls, cones, goalposts also disinfected after each training session.

There will also be additional surveillance measures, with players being tested for the coronavirus twice a week and a daily pre-training questionnaire and temperature check done.

While a number of players with underlying health concerns have mentioned their hesitation to resume sporting activities, the players and coaches have all been given a 40-page handbook with safety guidelines.

Players have been told they will not be able to use team vehicles or public transport, and not share private vehicles to and from the training ground. Additionally, they have been asked to maintain “meticulous personal hygiene”, the “use of PPE [personal protective equipment]”, and also that there should be “no congregation in communal areas, including but not limited to medical rooms and gym areas”.

Everton have nine games left to play in 2019-20, and currently sit 12th in the Premier League.

Revised Timeline for Project Restart

  • 13th May: Professional Footballers’ Association/League Managers’ Association consult members on medical protocols
  • 14th May: Meetings between Premier League and PFA/LMA about medical protocols
  • 14th May: Meeting between Culture Secretary and football authorities
  • 18th May: Next Premier League meeting
  • 18th May: Premier League players may return to initial group training under socially distancing protocols
  • 25th May: UEFA deadline for leagues to have finalised plan for restarting seasons
  • 1st June: Government date for possible return of elite sport behind closed doors in England
  • 12th June: Premier League aiming to return with first fixture