London, UK– The Premier League (PL) clubs has been voted unanimously on Wed, May 2020 to resume contact training as the English top-flight took a significant step towards restarting in June.
The Premier League (PL) was put on hold since March, 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemic, with Liverpool just two wins away from sealing the title.
Clubs has been returned to training in small activities and socially distanced groups since last week but they have moved to stage two of the “return to training protocol”.
“Shareholders of Premier League, today voted unanimously to resume contact training, marking another step towards restarting the PL season, when safe to do so,” the league said in a statement.
“Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.”
The decision was made following consultation with clubs, players, managers and the government.
Al the clubs that already completed the necessary risk assessments are expected to move to the new phase as soon as posible.
Later on Wednesday, the Premier League announced four more positive findings from 1,008 tests of players and club staff.
It’s mean there had been just twelve cases detected from a total of 2,752 tests.
The small number of positive tests has raised hopes of a return next month.
In the second-tier Championship, just two positive tests were registered from 1,014 tests.
A series of issues including the restart date and plans in the event of a curtailment will be discussed when the 20 Premier League clubs gather again on Thursday.
A targeted return date of June 12 — behind closed doors — was described by Premier League chief executive Richard Masters last week as a “staging post”.
Players and coaches have argued they will need more time to reduce the risk of injuries after such a long lay-off.
And some players have voiced fears over their safety and that of their families due to the virus.
Watford captain Troy Deeney has not returned to training after three positive cases were registered by the Hornets. He fears he could spread the virus to his five-month-old son.
French World Cup winner N’Golo Kante has also been given permission by Chelsea to train at home.
Germany’s Bundesliga, the first of Europe’s big five leagues to resume, will complete its third round of fixtures behind closed doors on Wednesday evening and there has been little player opposition to La Liga’s plans to return in Spain from June 11.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho is keen to get playing again after seeing football resume elsewhere, with 92 games left to play in the Premier League.
“Honestly, since the moment Bundesliga started, the Portuguese league and Spanish league announced a date to start, I think it is the most difficult moment for us, because we want to play,” he told Sky Sports.
“It is hard to see other countries playing football and we don’t do it.”
Liverpool were 25 points clear of 2019 champions Manchester City when the league was shut down, on the verge of being crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years.