PREMIER LEAGUE clubs have been warned that games may have to be played behind closed doors for a YEAR.
And players face 14 days in hotel quarantine BEFORE top-flight football can return.
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The 20 clubs “unanimously” agreed at their latest “shareholder” meeting that all teams can now enter “Stage One” of the training protocols.
That will allow basic non-contact drills as individuals or groups of no more than five per pitch, with staggered arrival times and all equipment disinfected before and after use.
The decision is the first step towards a potential return to action in June but League medical chief Mark Gillett warned: “It’s very clear the public and social health situation is not going to change in the next six to 12 months.
“It is important that people understand that they will have to see these cultural changes.”
Germany returned to action last weekend after players spent a week in secluded hotels between training sessions, which they were not allowed to leave.
But Government guidelines in this country mean Premier League players may have to spend TWICE as long in hotel quarantine.
Gillett explained: “The advice from Government is that if we have to isolate it will have to be 14 days.
“You would have to be in a hotel environment for 14 days to make it truly effective.
“That is something we are thinking about and will have to consult widely with players, managers, the PFA and stakeholders.
“It is certainly something that will be discussed and we will have to make a decision on that which everybody is happy with.”
League chief exec Richard Masters confirmed the suggested June 12 restart date was now seen as more of a “staging post”, signalling the need for at least three weeks of contact training which might put the resumption back as far as June 26.
Masters said: “Next week we are going to be discussing full contact training protocols.
“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.
”We need to be flexible.
“So far we haven’t talked to the players or even the clubs yet about a return to contact training, in terms of the fine details of protocols.
“We’re anticipating we can do that in the next week to 10 days.
“Before any decisions are made we will have 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.”
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