Following an announcement by the English Premier League, the twenty clubs in the top division have agreed to stage one of the return-to-training protocols, which allows teams to start training in small groups.

Clubs voted unanimously to the decision at the recent ‘Project Restart’ meeting.
Players must observe social distancing rules, and contact training is not permitted.

The first stage was agreed in consultation with players, managers, club doctors, independent experts and the government.

Some players, however, are not totally convinced with Watford captain, Troy Deeney, saying that concerned players are yet to receive ‘simple answers’ on health implications of ‘Project Restart’.

He voiced his concerns after being contacted by fellow-players who have shared his fears, but are reluctant to speak pout openly.

“I think that the concern is with Phase 2 (that is when players start to make contact in training)”, he said. “And Phase 3 is not yet clearly laid out. A lot of ‘simple questions’ have not been answered yet.

“One, for example, is the BAME situation, where government guidelines are saying that people of colour are four times more likely to get coronavirus and twice as likely to have lasting illnesses. But, there is no extra screening or additional checks carried out on players because it costs too much money. Simple things like that are where people are asking questions and they are not being answered when people can answer the questions, you start panicking and worrying”.

Adding to his worries, the Chelmsely Wood-born star continued: “I saw Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham saying that he lives with him dad who has asthma and he has concerns there.

“It just shows that from the Premier League to League Two, there are concerns right across the board”.

The Premier League had previously identified June 12 for matches to possibly restart but there is now an expectation that this will need to be pushed back.

A statement – by the Premier League – added; ‘Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure that everyone will return to training in the safest environment possible. The health and well-being of all participants is our priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process. Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, the clubs, the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) and the LMA (League Managers’ Association) as protocols for full-contact training are developed.’

Meanwhile, in the Scotland’s SPL, Celtic was confirmed as champions for the ninth consecutive year after the SPL ended its season, with Hearts being relegated. The decision follows a board meeting after the 12 clubs agreed that completing the campaign was unfeasible.

Average points-per-game played was used to determine the final placing.