Premier League clubs have voted for a return to training on Tuesday in a much-needed boost for football to resume following weeks of talks amid the coronavirus.
This was announced during a video conference call involving all 20 clubs on Monday morning, where it was agreed that it was safe for players to return to action.
Players at a number of Premier League clubs have been training individually.
But they will now be allowed to work together in groups of five from Tuesday as long as social distancing rules are strictly adhered to.
Premier League officials needed at least 14 positive votes to press ahead with phase one of the return to training, in which all contact between players is banned.
After each training, ball, cones, corner flags, goalposts, playing surfaces and other equipment will be disinfected.
Players will be tested for coronavirus twice a week and they will be required complete a temperature check and fill in a questionnaire before each session.
According to the Premier League in a statement: “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.”
Other rules in phase one include players not travelling with anyone to or from training, while the use of public transport and team vehicles is banned.
Stars have been given a condensed version of a 40-page document which lays out the new safety protocols for training sessions, which will be a maximum of 75 minutes each.
On Monday a number of clubs will test players and staff for the disease with a view to returning to training on either Wednesday or Thursday.
Clubs have told their players their results should be available 24 hours after their tests.
A return to training was discussed by clubs, managers, players and officials from the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association last week.
Every player who returns to training will need to provide written confirmation that they have received and agree to their club’s Covid-19 operational policy.
Each club must also appoint a dedicated ‘Covid-19 officer’ who is not a member of their medical staff to oversee player and staff safety during the return to training and when the campaign restarts.
The Premier League hope to resume games in the second half of June, although they are willing to extend the season until the end of August in order to complete it.
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