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Premier League edges closer to return as clubs vote to resume training

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The Premier League are committed to finishing the season.

The Premier League are committed to finishing the season.

PA

The Premier League are committed to finishing the season.

Premier League clubs have unanimously voted to resume training on Tuesday, as the first big obstacle to a potential resumption of the season in June was passed by all 20 clubs.

This is viewed as a huge step forward in a chain of events that needs to fall into place before a date can be put on a possible resumption of the season that was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some reservations were aired over a proposed return date of June 12th at a conference call among all 20 Premier League clubs held on Monday, but they have agreed to resume training on Tuesday using protocols that have been agreed by the UK government.

"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," read a Premier League statement.

"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."

After Germany's Bundesliga return last weekend, Spain and Italy are pressing forward with efforts to restart their seasons and their players have already returned to training in large groups.

Yet there still appears to be some reservations from players and clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League over plans to move on from this first phase of a return to training with Watford captain Troy Deeney among those expressing doubts over the plans that have been put in place.

"Phase one is social distancing individual training with a coach; that's no problem, that's like going to the park," Deeney told ITV, as he joined Man City stars Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero, Brighton's Glenn Murray and Tottenham's Danny Rose among those questioning whether football should return after England have been hit so hard by the Covid-19 crisis.

"Phase two will be next week: six days' worth of training, three to six people training together with contact, and then six days after that you're going into 11 v 11 and you can't social distance with 11 v 11

"I'm desperate to play football, it's my job, I've got the best job in the world. But there have to be clear and safe measures for everybody, not just me. I saw Tammy Abraham say his dad has asthma and he lives with him so he has concerns.

"It's not just players at the bottom who are trying to stay in the league. It's concerns right across the board. I have had a lot of texts from players who are worried about coming out and speaking. I would say 98% are very much aware that phase one is very good. I would say 65-70% of people are concerned with phase two. I'd say even higher after that."

Online Editors