The return of the Premier League could move a step closer today with captains and managers set to discuss protocols for phase two training, while BAME players have been offered some reassurances over the safety of the latest guidelines.
Premier League officials have received approval from the government to move to stage two of training ahead of a potential return to competitive action, with sessions allowing close-contact training in groups of up to 12 players.
Captains and managers of the league’s representative sides will hold a video call today to discuss phase two protocols, before a vote on Wednesday on whether to resume contact training.
The latest measures are the next positive step towards resuming the Premier League behind-closed-doors next month, with the second round of mass testing producing just two positive tests of coronavirus from 966 players and staff tested.
The Premier League has also moved to reassure players of Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds over the safety of a return to football amidst the coronavirus pandemic, with increasing evidence suggesting that Covid-19 is having a disproportionate effect on people from BAME background.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the Government’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, attempted to address the issue during a meeting on Friday, offering ‘a level of reassurance’ to the BAME players’ advisory group – a group which includes the likes of former England internationals Ian Wright and Joleon Lescott.
Watford captain Troy Deeney – who has announced he will not return to training amid concerns over the safety of his young family – was also present for the meeting, with an acknowledgement that the forward’s concerns over BAME players must be addressed before there can be ‘full confidence’ in the league’s plan to move to phase two of training.
The Premier League will also hold another meeting on Thursday to discuss broader details of the league’s return, including where fixtures will be played, the restart date and options for potential curtailment of the season.