In all but the most extreme “null and void the season” quarters, the question has not been about whether to finish the Premier League season, but rather how and when? The “when” is still up in the air, and largely depends on the way this pandemic continues to spread, but there seems to be a plan to tackle the “how” part of the equation.
According to a report from The Mirror, the Premier League has sent out a 7-page guideline with safety measures for the clubs to follow when training resumes. The plan is to start with a “phased return” with smaller groups, gradually getting bigger to be full squad training. The players will have to agree to the following steps in writing before returning to training:
- Players and staff must pass the COVID-19 Antigen Test 48 hours prior to returning to training
- Players will be regularly checked for repiratory symptoms associate with COVID-19
- All footballs, GPS units, cones, corner flags, goalposts and other equipment to be disinfected before and after use by staff wearing PPE
- Players must wear masks at all times
- Cars must be parked three spaces apart
- No massages unless approved by club doctor
- Fluids to be left at designated pick-up points
- Initially only five players per training group
- Players to be given designated time slots and 15 minutes to prepare
- 75 minutes of small group training
- 15 minutes recovery
- Players and staff will be banned from spitting at the Training Ground
No word on “snot rockets” apparently.
Of course, there is no perfect plan that would be 100% effective in stopping transmission between players. But this at least sounds like there will be enough precautions in place to make training as safe as possible, with a view to returning to matches behind closed doors in June.
And the players and players union will have to sign off on this plan, literally, by the sounds of it.
While we all want football back, we want it to be as safe as reasonably possible when it does. This plan sounds like the Premier League is taking the necessary steps to plan for not just a return, but a safe one.