The Premier League is still focused on restarting on 12 June according to chief executive Richard Masters, although he admitted that there has to be a degree of flexibility around the date.
The date is dependent on securing the agreement of players and managers for full contact training, the second phase of the return, but Masters expressed confidence that can be done over the next “seven to 10 days” after successfully getting unanimous agreement for non-contact training in Monday’s meeting.
The Premier League will receive the results for the first round of Covid-19 tests at 2pm on Tuesday, at which point the players will be released for their first training sessions.
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Speaking in a press conference after the meeting with clubs, Masters said: “We have been focused on this staging post, it’s not a firm commitment, for June 12. What we are able to do today is basically to move forward on small group training.
“So we haven’t changed the start date, we have to be flexible about it. What we don’t want to do is continually move that start date.
“Next week we are going to be discussing full contact training protocols for that. Once you know when you can start full contact training and we have had a proper discussion with clubs about how much is required to create the fitness levels before they can start playing, we are then in a position to be able to confirm when the season start is.”
Masters also made sure to reiterate that the fine details of the plan still need to be sorted out.
“Today we haven’t talked to the players or even that clubs yet about return to contact training, in terms of the fine details of protocols,” he added.
“We’re anticipating we can do that in the next week to 10 days. Before any decisions are made exactly the same as this stage’s decision, we will have very similar meetings with players and managers to explain to them how contact training would work and so they can raise their concerns and questions and we can answer any medical concerns they might have. It’s exactly the same process repeated we have done for this stage of the protocols, we’ll repeat that for stage two.
“We’ve had regular feedback from players via clubs and also when we’re talking to club captains and the managers. It’s a combination of both. In those meetings, obviously we’re not able to ask all players to attend, but we are able to put up all the medical advisers we’ve been working with, that’s why we have those groups. Those club captains can feed back to their colleagues.
“Those are the principal reasons for setting up the way we do. We’ve had feedback from a number of different sources.”
Monday’s meeting also involved the discussion over games potentially being shown on terrestrial television at government request, and the Premier League offered initial ideas for broadcasting.
“For the remaining 92 games we were able to give clubs a very brief update on that and the discussions we are having with both the Government and the broadcasters to try to come up with the right formula. Out of the respect to all of those broadcast partners I don’t think it is right to confirm any specific part of it.”
Premier League Director of Football Richard Garlick meanwhile said that insurers are content with the liability issues. That had been one of the biggest questions for clubs.
“We have spoken to the insurers both in relation to the liability insurers for the clubs but also indemnity insurance for the doctors,” Garlick said.
“It’s in our protocols. They are content with them. I think we have done everything we can to get them in a place where they feel comfortable and obviously we just need to ensure we continue to follow government guidance as an when it comes out with these next steps of protocols – step two and step three.”