Clubs to discuss ‘Project Restart’ as training restrictions are leaked

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According to the Mirror, Premier League clubs will meet on Friday to discuss the latest plans to resume the 2019/20 season.

Leaked documents suggest clubs and players will have to adhere to a range of health and safety procedures to resume group training sessions as ‘Project Restart’ steps up a gear with the window of opportunity narrowing every day.

Uefa has asked its members to indicate by 25 May whether they’ll be able to complete their domestic seasons before 31 July, with the governing body earmarking August for Europa League and Champions League fixtures.

While the Germans are confident they can get Bundesliga games going behind closed doors, Holland, Belgium and France have already called time on the Eredivisie, Jupiler League and Ligue 1 respectively. 

There’s nothing to suggest that the Premier League is better prepared than its continental peers for coping with football during COVID-19 but with broadcast revenue at stake, they seem determined to find a route forward.

Proposals for a resumption of training, written by Premier League director of football Richard Garlick include:

  • Testing all players and officials 48 hours before returning to training and they will also be tested for potential respiratory problems associated with coronavirus.
  • All footballs, global positioning system [GPS] units, cones, corner flags, goalposts and other equipment to be disinfected before and after use by staff wearing personal protective equipment [PPE]
  • Players to wear snood/masks at all times
  • Cars to be parked three spaces apart
  • No massages unless approved by club doctor
  • Fluids to be left at designated pick-up points
  • Only visit training block to use toilet
  • 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

Arsenal opened London Colney this week so that players could use the pitches to train solo. Drone footage showed them doing shuttle runs and ball work and the changing rooms and facilities remained locked.

In recent weeks, there has been talk of creating quarantined football camps at Wembley and St George’s Park with multiple games being played each day and the action being made available via streaming services. Calculations have even been made as to the bare minimum number of people needed to put on matches. None of it sounds very practical.

Notwithstanding the moral issues of regularly testing players when such tests haven’t been readily available to frontline healthcare workers, let alone the rest of us, this whole thing sounds like a massive ball ache with the potential to do far more damage than good on the health front.

Speaking to the BBC, the chair of Fifa’s medical committee, Michel d’Hooghe, said: “My proposal is if it is possible, avoid playing competitive football in the coming weeks. Try to be prepared for the start of good competition next season.

He added: “There is a risk and it is not a risk that has small consequences. It can have consequences of life and death and that is why I am so careful and I ask everyone to be very careful before deciding to play again.

“I speak as a medical doctor, I don’t have to speak as an organiser of matches, but for the moment from my medical standpoint I would be very sceptical.”

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Runcorn Gooner
Runcorn Gooner
1 month ago

Desperate is the only word I can think of. They are living in their own little money obsessed world. Wanting to use services and facilities that should be used by those that need them not a bunch of prima donna footballers.

Sky and Bt want this to happen while the man in the street is sick and fed up with all the desperate attempts to get started despite the fact that it involves unnecessary risk.

France has the right idea. Give it 4 months and see how it pans out.

Shame on the EPL.

Chinaman
Chinaman
1 month ago
Reply to  Runcorn Gooner

More than the League, I think the clubs would want to complete this season else they’ll lose out on the media 💰 for 9 matches and that is a loss which no club owner wants to compensate for…

loose_cannon
loose_cannon
1 month ago
Reply to  Chinaman

I read that each premier league club stands to lose around £50m from TV alone, so not including prize money, gate receipts etc. Might be ok for City/Chelsea but the likes of Norwich and Burnley will feel that very differently.

Atom
Atom
1 month ago
Reply to  loose_cannon

It is by no means anyone’s fault, but there are reports several PL clubs and one would think a fair number of lower league clubs would have to declare bankruptcy as the clubs still would have to pay player salaries but would miss out roughly 25 percent of the expected revenue from this season. Clubs simply aren’t set up to survive that

loose_cannon
loose_cannon
1 month ago
Reply to  Atom

I’ve heard this as well. What many on here don’t always appreciate is that the vast majority of football clubs in the country, and many in the premier league, are not owned by billionaires who can bail them out. It’s not all about greedy footballers and owners, for many this will be existential.

Riku
Riku
1 month ago
Reply to  Chinaman

How to finish fixtures
I think do it by penelty shoot out 5 players per team including goal keeper. You can win lose or draw . In one stadium . All tested. Can do all the remaining matches in 24 hours. 

E.g. 1-1 or 5-5 or 5-1 scores. Liverpool still probably get enough points probably and relegation decided by best goal keeper

Arsenal 5
Leno 
P.e.a.
Luiz
Pepe
Xhaka

(Or Martinelli , lacezette) I went with captains.
Who would you pick ?

gus
gus
1 month ago
Reply to  Riku

boris
rabb
hancock
patel
sunak

they cant be a better bunch

Eric Blair
Eric Blair
1 month ago
Reply to  Riku

Why not do it Blogs/Gunnerblog style, if there are 9 games left to play, each club chooses 9 players to take a game each and decide it on Fifa. Could get really tactical as you want to get the player match ups right!

Would be a good discussion for an Arsecast Extra, which 9 would you choose? And who would you be afraid of in our remaining fixtures?

Riku
Riku
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Blair

Don’t know which of our lads, are any good at f.i.f.a. I was gonna say the youngsters lads , like Nelson , Saks, willock,…

It had less to do with athletic quality or sprtsman ship than penelty shoot out,
We could have a new Kim kallstrom penelty hero..

Ten minutes a shoot out , all of remaining games played off in 24 hours marathon.

and in computer games the real denilson could beat Bergkamp 5-0 doesn’t make him a better player .

Anyway More if a sensible soccer fan myself ! Do you remember that game ( FIFA is ok )

Riku
Riku
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Blair

1 Matteo g.
2 saka. 3 Martinelli, 4 Nelson , 5 chambers . 6 k.turnery 7 ozil, 8 kola 9 holding ( all injured recently so well practiced 🙂

You?

Riku
Riku
1 month ago
Reply to  Riku

*5-9 injured recently so will have had practise time

Eric Blair
Eric Blair
1 month ago
Reply to  Riku

Good shouts there, I think I’d throw in Leno too, he’s got to be good with his hands!

It seems we have the youngest team in the PL so we’d probably have a good chance, but I’d be worried about Chelsea.

Riku
Riku
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Blair

*5-9 recently injured

Dunno about other clubs selection s

loose_cannon
loose_cannon
1 month ago
Reply to  Runcorn Gooner

Not sure France have the right idea actually, if they truly intend to play in September. It might be more dangerous to delay football until then, near the beginning of the flu season, than to play it in the summer. At best I think the risk will be the same because it could only take one infection to derail European competition again.

Joythah
Joythah
1 month ago

Players and staff will be banned from spitting…
There’s nothing you won’t hear these days

aberinkula
aberinkula
1 month ago

Absolutely noone is pushing for corporate football to return any time soon, except the business people leeching off the game. There is no hurry or necessity to restarting professional this or any other prosport. Not while there is a societal lockdown. Not when people are dying in their hundreds every day. Not while *essential* workers can’t get the testing they need. It’s madness. And the players, essentially being forced to turn up and put themselves at enhanced, and entirely avoidable risk – for whose benefit exactly? I imagine a lot of players might worry that this is irresponsible. If the… Read more »

Niall Shannon
Niall Shannon
1 month ago

This is just insane. What makes football so special that it has to return asap. I guarantee you that if it starts back, someone will get the virus and all of a sudden, they’re back to sqaure 1. There’s too many people involved in this operation (players, non-playing staff, officials, tv staff etc) not to get the virus. I get the economical reasons but this is not the answer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sky and BT are the ones pressuring the Premier League to get it back on. The fact that most fans are saying no to this should… Read more »

Thierry
Thierry
1 month ago

Real question:
why returning to football in August is supposed to be safer than in, say, 2 weeks or a month? What will happen between now and early August? Will there be a readily available vaccine? Not really, not to mention the safety of such a rushed product or the physical limits of production, distribution and application of such vaccine. Will we achieve the herd immunity by then? Very unlikely given the lockdown, closed schools and the overall restriction on movement.

Anyone care to explain? I’m genuinely intrigued.

Cangooner
Cangooner
1 month ago

This is lunacy of the highest order. We all love football, obviously. Why else would we be here on the old Arseblog? But to place resumption of competition anywhere near the list of priorities to be resumed, let alone near the top of that list, is just bonkers. Tests should be provided for those for whom it is medically necessary, and for those providing essential services. Until they are ALL taken care of, anyone who diverts tests or other medical/protective resources for sport should be absolutely ashamed. I miss football. I miss Arsenal. But for feck sake, let’s get our… Read more »

BrazilianGooner
BrazilianGooner
1 month ago

I miss watching Arsenal and the EPL in general but honestly all I want is for whatever scenario that gets us qualified for Champions League. If that means the season voided so be it.

Also extra points if the season is voided and Liverpool don’t get the title Haha

Runcorn Gooner
Runcorn Gooner
1 month ago

Very sad comments in the current climate.

BrazilianGooner
BrazilianGooner
1 month ago
Reply to  Runcorn Gooner

I was saying that so be it if the season is voided. Not saying the league should come back because that sacrifices the safety of everyone involved.

Trust me as a medical professional it’s hard seeing day to day what this virus does and I’m disgusted with the people that only care about the money aspect of these situations.

Drogheda Gunner
Drogheda Gunner
1 month ago
Reply to  Runcorn Gooner

It was a joke you tosser

Niall Shannon
Niall Shannon
1 month ago

Sometimes there’s more important things than if Arsenal get into the Champions League

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan
1 month ago

How could you not want Liverpool to win the title if you love football? They deserve it, and they should get the title no matter what at this point. Imagine if we had the title in the bag and they voided the season. As far as as qualifying for the CL, apart from the financial incentives, the rest will be a disaster. We don’t have the squad right now to get out of the grup stages.

BrazilianGooner
BrazilianGooner
1 month ago
Reply to  Naked Cygan

I don’t want Liverpool to win the title because I will never cheer for anyone but Arsenal winning the title PERIOD

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan
1 month ago

I should have know from your first comment that you are between 10-12 years old.

Dennis Elbow
Dennis Elbow
1 month ago
Reply to  Naked Cygan

Lighten up dude.

Dennis Elbow
Dennis Elbow
1 month ago
Reply to  Naked Cygan

Erm… because they are Liverpool?
Just because they may deserve it, it doesn’t mean people have to think they should have it.

Rohan
Rohan
1 month ago

That’s the same “doctor” at Fifa that is fine with Spain’s use of PEDs. The guy’s a charlatan.

Gervinho
Gervinho
1 month ago

I miss football but have to say that there has been a level of stress removed from my life by not having Arsenal matches to watch. I would be content with writing this season off and starting fresh next season! This could serve as a consequence free break-in period for Mikel, if you will.

Hope all the fellow Gooners are taking care 💪🏽

Richard Krivonozka
Richard Krivonozka
1 month ago

“Uefa has asked its members to indicate by 25 May whether they’ll be able to complete their domestic seasons before 31 July, with the governing body earmarking August for Europa League and Champions League fixtures.” I would have thought this issue of qualifying for the champions league could be resolved by eliminating the group stage of the chamipons league and returning to a straight knockout competition for one season. This would greatly reduce the number of matches each team plays, whilst keeping the total number of matches, and will allow the competion to be hugely expanded, maybe even doubled, which… Read more »

Der32
Der32
1 month ago

Awesome idea, would love for it to be true!

Nognir
Nognir
1 month ago

Cancel the season and compensate affected clubs (PL executives can take a nominal pay cut to finance this). Anything else is greed.

Andy
Andy
1 month ago

Who cares? I barely even talk about football with my football friends. It’s hard to find even ardent Liverpool fans who give a shit. As someone alluded to above, it is the ultimate in narcissism from occupants of that most egregious self-absorbed bubble.

#define
#define
1 month ago

Football should restart at the time things can return to some semblance of normal. If there are restrictions on training, conditioning etc. (including the mental state of the footballers in a paranoia over germs), we might see a disjointed product on the field. If the goal is to just finish the season, then just award Liverpool the title and let’s move on. Personally I don’t want to see non league football in PL games with unfit players who are just going through the motions (and may be prone to injury).

bobbyp55
bobbyp55
1 month ago

Now I have actually read these proposals, they seem completely far-fetched to put into action. The people who run the league are desperate people, desperate to make (even more) money. I can’t see this coming off.

Arsene
Arsene
1 month ago

Would this be easier?
Quit the season now.
No relegations.
points differences carried over to next season.
Start next season more or less in the order of the remaining fixtures with existing tv rights still covered in those games.
let companies bid on the remaining games.
sanction all contracts to extend slightly to match a one off transfer window which would be after those initial fixtures.
Not ideal, but surely it’s better to plan for that than to try and salvage something that is already ruined and risk player and staff health?

Steve Morpurgo
Steve Morpurgo
1 month ago

The whole idea is complete nonsense. Just 1 case of infection, stops everything again.

Rich
Rich
1 month ago

Germany had an industry in production of these types of tests, that’s why they were quicker out the blocks with testing, and understandably while they worked with other countries to pass on expertise, they were always going to put their own citizens first, with their own supply. We’ll have the capacity over the next couple of weeks to produce diagnostic tests and antibody tests in the millions, so using them in Sport won’t put the rest of the country in short supply. In a comprehensive interview with “Germany’s leading coronavirus expert” Christian Drosten – one of the scientists who first identified the SARS virus… Read more »