The 20 Premier League clubs voted today to make an important next step towards the resumption of football next month. In a shareholders’ meeting, all 20 clubs voted unanimously to proceed to Stage Two of the league’s plan to resume football, which would allow contact training between players.
This means that players can now touch, hold, grapple, and tackle each other, though they are advised to “minimize any unnecessary close contact.”
Here’s the full statement from the Premier League, taken from their website.
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, LMA and the Government.
Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow.
The wording of this release makes it sound as though contact drills are authorized immediately, so don’t be surprised if clubs like Tottenham Hotspur start releasing training photos of players engaged in full contact drills today.
If football does return in mid-June, and it’s now looking more like it’s a matter of when than if, it’s equally interesting what the television landscape will look like. Since fans will not be in attendance for any of the remaining matches (and possibly heading into the next season), the Mirror is now reporting that broadcasters are looking at massive weekend match days that will include games broadcast at 12, 2, 4, 6, and 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Other proposals include “Champions League style” mid-week matches with back to back games in order to get more matches scheduled in a shorter period of time.