Premier League clubs have agreed to return to small-group training as a vote held on Monday was unanimous.
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The return to training will take place from Tuesday, as groups of five players at a time will take part in sessions while observing social-distancing.
Contact training will not return at this point but this is a big step forward, as players will return to training grounds together for the first time since the Premier League was suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All 20 clubs agreed to the return in the latest shareholders video conference call, as a vital step in the 2019-20 Premier League returning was confirmed. It is believed the season could resume as early as June 12 but reports state that date could be pushed back a week or so in order to give players ample time to regain full fitness.
Below is the statement from the Premier League in full, as they now join La Liga and Serie A in starting up small-group training, while the German Bundesliga showed the soccer, and sporting world, the way forward as they returned to action in empty stadiums over the weekend.
“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.”
There was plenty of debate about the safety of players returning to training grounds and how they and staff would be tested for Covid-19 but along with help from the government and after meetings with players and managers, it appears everyone is happy, for now, to return to training.
This likely means running drills and small-sided possession and passing games will now take place until contract training arrives, but clubs will be delighted to get back to some sense of normality.