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Premier League clubs approve return to contact training

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Premier League clubs have unanimously agreed to resume contact training in groups.

The British government gave teams the green light to recommence “competitive” training earlier in the week, with authorities gearing up for a potential return of Premier League match action following a hiatus of more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, all clubs agreed to the implementation of Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol.

A Premier League statement read: “Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training – marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so.

“Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.

“The Premier League’s priority is the health and wellbeing of all participants. Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

“Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association], LMA [League Managers’ Association] and the government. Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow.”

Clubs returned to training in small groups last week and officials have identified a June resumption as possible should the COVID-19 situation in the UK continue to improve.

Stage Two training will allow teams to begin working in large groups again, with the government’s guidance accepting “close-contact training is required to replicate match formations and conditions” and “develops the sport-specific fitness which is an essential element for player safety”.

It is expected that clubs will initially continue working in smaller clusters of up to three players, before eventually groups of up to 12 and eventually full-team training.

All players will still be asked to observe social distancing when not taking part in technical training.

Most clubs have nine matches remaining this season, while four have an extra game in hand.

Liverpool are 25 points clear at the summit as they close in on a maiden Premier League title and first top-flight crown since 1990.

by Getty Images

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