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Premier League clubs edge closer to contact training

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Players have been working in groups of five during the phase-one no-contact training and want to know how the sizes of those clusters will be managed. (stock photo)

Players have been working in groups of five during the phase-one no-contact training and want to know how the sizes of those clusters will be managed. (stock photo)

Players have been working in groups of five during the phase-one no-contact training and want to know how the sizes of those clusters will be managed. (stock photo)

Premier League clubs will ask for clarity on what happens if a player tests positive before voting on whether to begin limited-contact training in phase two of Project Restart.

The top flight last night received the green light from the UK government to move to restricted-contact training at the start of a week of important meetings. Managers and players are scheduled to meet the Premier League over the phase-two protocols tomorrow before clubs vote on the subject on Wednesday.

There is then a meeting on Thursday with the clubs, when the broadcast rebate and plan for a possible curtailment of the season are likely to be discussed. The biggest question posed by the guidelines for the return to close-contact training appears to revolve around what happens if a player tests positive and whether that could send large groups of players into a 14-day quarantine.

Point seven of the guidelines states: "Due to the increased risk of transmission under stage two conditions, the Covid-19 officer must have a clear policy for managing a Covid-19 positive individual and abide by Government and PHE [Public Health England]guidelines and reporting requirements."

That will raise questions over whether every player who has had any contact with an individual who tests positive will have to quarantine.

Managers, players and clubs will also discuss how they work towards full training, with the guidelines stating: "In stage two to it is anticipated that engaging in this type of training would start with smaller 'clusters' of two to three athletes and eventually progress to larger groups of four to 12 athletes, and ultimately full team training."

Players have been working in groups of five during the phase-one no-contact training and want to know how the sizes of those clusters will be managed.

Watford are due to hold a squad meeting today, having suffered a difficult start to their return. Adrian Mariappa tested positive for coronavirus, while Troy Deeney did not return to training after voicing concerns over the safety of his child. Two others players stayed away and two more went into isolation.

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta may also seek some reassurance on behalf of N'Golo Kante, who was last week granted compassionate leave to miss training over his own concerns.

Bournemouth yesterday confirmed one of the two latest positive tests was provided by one of their players. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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