Arsenal will open their training ground to be used by players from next week despite the UK still being under a government lockdown.
The news comes as a huge shock as the UK government has social distancing rules in place until at least May 7.
James Benge of Football.London has the following statement from Arsenal on them opening up their London Colney training ground for player training.
“Players will be permitted access to the Colney grounds next week. Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times.”
Per the story, Arsenal have 10 pitches unused and believe they will “provide their squad with a safe outdoor space in which to train” and players will not train together for the foreseeable future and sessions will be staggered.
Four of Arsenal’s players (Granit Xhaka, Nicolas Pepe, David Luiz and Alexandre Lacazette) were caught not observing social distancing rules over the last week and the club believe the best way to provide their players with a safe place to workout is at their training ground rather than public parks.
The question now will be if Arsenal can do this, what is there to stop other Premier League clubs following suit?
Some of the concerns raised is that Arsenal’s players will have to travel across London and into the training ground and that kind of trip is not currently allowed under the UK’s lockdown rules. Arsenal and their staff are not deemed as essential workers and there is likely to be plenty of criticism of the Gunners for doing this.
The big problem is, if a Premier League club is trying to get things back to some sense of normality while the UK is still under lockdown rules, that is something the general public will look to as a sign they can also start doing things they aren’t allowed to do.
Arsenal and all professional sports teams are a symbol of their local communities and people follow their lead, whether they like it or not.