Arsenal’s first team squad will be allowed to take part in small group sessions from tomorrow afternoon after Premier League clubs voted unanimously in favour of the first step towards restarting the Premier League.
As we reported last week, Mikel Arteta’s squad and backroom staff will be tested for coronavirus twice weekly at London Colney for the foreseeable future.
Strict medical protocols will also be in place. Last week, the BBC, who’d seen a first draft of the proposals sent to players and managers, reported that sessions of no more than five players will be capped at 75-minutes.
Tackling and contact will be banned for the time being and everything from the pitches to the balls will be regularly disinfected. Players won’t be allowed to travel to the training ground together and congregation in communal areas including gyms and changing rooms will not be allowed.
A date for the completion of the outstanding 92 games of the 2019/20 season has not been confirmed, but it’s believed Saturday 20 June is looking likely. The league’s coaches had complained that starting a week earlier wouldn’t give them enough time to get their players up to full fitness.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Premier League said:
Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to return to small-group training from tomorrow afternoon, the first step towards restarting the Premier League, when safe to do so.
Step One of the Return to Training Protocol enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing. Contact training is not yet permitted.
This first stage has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, Premier League club doctors, independent experts and the Government.
Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure everyone returns to training in the safest environment possible.
The health and wellbeing of all participants is the Premier League’s priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process.
Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA and LMA as protocols for full-contact training are developed.