Saturday, September 30, 2023

Government green lights return to training

Top-level athletes, including footballers, are allowed to return to training with immediate effect under new guidelines released by the government.

The Guardian relays that they will have to undergo a 1:1 check-in with a medical expert during which their health will be checked and the risks of Covid-19 set-out.

On Monday, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters hinted that all 20 clubs could resume group training, albeit with a number of restrictions in place, by Monday.

According to The Times, it’s now more likely to be Tuesday with finalised training protocols set to be signed off at Monday’s Premier League shareholders meeting.

In theory, that would give clubs just under a month to get their players match fit for a return to action on 13 June. Reports suggest that the timeline is causing concern for some coaches, who don’t believe that’s realistic after a two-month lay-off.

Arsenal are expected to follow Wolves’ lead by setting-up a drive-through testing centre at London Colney for the first team squad and backroom staff in the coming days.

Nasal and throat swabs will then be sent for analysis at The Doctors Laboratory, a sister company of the one undertaking Covid-19 tests for the Bundesliga, with results returned inside 24 hours.

According to the BBC who’ve had eyes on the first draft of the training protocols sent to players and managers this week, the first phase of training will see 75-minute sessions restricted to groups of five.

Tackling will be banned for the time being (as it usually is in the early stages of pre-season) and everything from corner flags and balls to pitches and cones (more work for Ryo) will need to be disinfected.

Ongoing surveillance will include twice-weekly testing and daily temperature checks. 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.

It’s worth pointing out that players are under no pressure to return to training and those with reservations over the safety of doing so will not be punished if they opt-out. That said, the Premier League believes the majority of players are keen to return to action and will sign the necessary disclaimer forms. Player representatives from each club were due to meet this afternoon but no statement from the PFA has yet been made.

Speaking about the new guidelines, the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: “I know our sports stars are keen to get back to training and this guidance will enable them to do so in a safe way. Our top priority is protecting the health of athletes, coaches and support staff.

“Enabling athletes to get match fit is an important milestone towards restarting competitive sport behind closed doors – but we have not given a green light yet. We are clear that this can only happen on the advice of medical experts and when it is safe to do so.”

In a further sign, that momentum is gathering, ESPN report that the Championship wants to return a week before the Premier League.

While the League One and League Two campaigns are likely to end prematurely, albeit with promotion play-offs taking place, it sounds as though England’s second-tier sides, are close to an agreement on how and when to resume.

There’s been no talk about the use of neutral grounds in the Championship, so we can assume if they get a green light to continue with home and away games, the same will happen in the Premier League.

The game is making its comeback around the world. South Korea’s K-League kicked off on Saturday, the Bundesliga returns this coming weekend and Italy’s Serie A is eyeing a mid-June start.

Before you know it, we’ll have too much football…

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Football <3


Great news.

Peter Story Teller

So what happens when one of the players turns up after a couple of weeks of training and tests positive???

What is the gestation period for the virus to be picked up by the test the result of which will not be known until the following day anyway?

Could be that before the mid-June kick off half of the Premier League squads could be back in isolation or even worse have a full-on bought of Covid 19!

Ya Gooner

There will be a second wave. Our haste will make it so we wait longer for football and the world to resume as ‘normal’


*What happens IF

But a valid point anyway.

Eric Blair

24 hours, eh? Nothing could happen in those 24 hours that might mean infection. Jesus people, if you want others to risk their and their families lives in order to entertain us just give it to them straight. They will all have a higher chance of contracting this disease as a result of so much money being in the game.


Of the 22,049 people who have died with Covid19 in English hospitals, only 31 were aged under 40, with no underlying health conditions (0.13%) We live in a free country, or at least we used to. Try reading the article: “It’s worth pointing out that players are under no pressure to return to training and those with reservations over the safety of doing so will not be punished if they opt-out. That said, the Premier League believes the majority of players are keen to return to action and will sign the necessary disclaimer forms” Players have the choice, nobody is forcing… Read more »


Strangely naive point of view, Rich, and clearly problematic: “only 31”, when referring to deaths in those under 40, is awfully cavalier. Premier League footballers, if called back to the pitch by their clubs and league to perform, will be interacting on a daily basis with a burgeoning contact group that can be rigorously tested but whose interactions cannot be controlled — taking the case of Arsenal alone, we’re looking at a projected 18-22 players involved each game along with coaches and medical staff and media/PR and executives, mixing with at least 10 other teams and their cohorts, and you… Read more »


The issue is money. Not every club can keep afloat much longer without football. TV broadcasting has been pressuring for a refund of their sponsorship.

Reality is alot of clubs aren’t exactly cash rich. They need their cashflow to start flowing again.

I don’t want them to rush and jeopardize safety, we’ll see if all the the clubs agree to this SOP moving forward.

Ya Gooner

The point of thelockdown isn’t to stop the virus, it’s to reduce the pressure on the healthcare system. Other coronaviruses we have built some immunity to (like common cold), over time that’s likely to happen with covid 19 so less severe symptoms amongst the population as an average. There are plenty of 50-70 year olds at risk which is a huge proportion of the population being the boomer generation.


I sure hope so. This virus is such a puzzle. Did you see recently that it’s causes dangerous inflammation in children? This is post recovery from the virus.


An FA Cup final in an empty Wembley will surely be the weirdest match of all time?


No, that was reading 5 arsenal 7 in the league cup 2012 when some arse fans bailed at 0-4 down after 35min. Theo scored a hat-trick. Def weird.

Scott P

That was an extraordinary match. Winning that game felt like winning the cup haha. Unfortunately, if I remember correctly, we lost in the next round…


I suspect the FA Cup will be voided this season, which would be good news for Arsenal because it would free up another European spot for the league places.

Maul Person

As much as I’d like to see football back, a part of me REALLY hopes enough players tell the powers that be where to shove it. Too many point of failure…


This is an astonishingly bad idea

Maul Person

Well it DID come from the sitting government which isn’t known for good ideas or good implementations of ideas.

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