Clubs told neutral spots only for any Premier League comebacks

MANCHESTER: Premier League clubs have been told that they cannot use their own stadiums to resume games this season with only approved neutral venues to host the remaining matches in a campaign currently on hold due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

The league, which has been suspended since March 9, remains in limbo, unable to take action, until the government makes a decision next week on possible changes to the blocking restrictions.

But on Friday, the 20 clubs held a conference call in which they discussed plans for the resumption of training in late May, followed by a possible return to competitive action in June.

During the meeting, the clubs were informed that an eventual resumption of matches would see them play only in neutral locations that has been approved from a health and safety point of view, a source familiar with the discussion told Reuters.

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The league also held talks with the club's medical staff and other medical experts about how restricted team training could return later this month, if the government allows professional sport to resume.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson He promised to establish a menu of options next week on how the restrictions could be eased, but said the exact dates of any changes would be driven by scientific advice.

The government had originally set May 7 as the day they would review the blocking restrictions.

The Premier League The clubs plan to meet again as soon as possible after any government announcement of the closure.

SAFE RETURN

While there has been no indication from the government about next week's result, the cabinet minister responsible for sport, Secretary of Culture Oliver Dowden On Friday, he held the first formal meeting of a cross-sports body created to examine the practicalities of resuming professional sports.

I know (the British) desperately want the sport, Dowden wrote on Twitter. We have just started the first of many detailed meetings to plan a safe return to elite sport behind closed doors when, and only when, it is safe to do so based on expert medical advice. There is a lot to consider, but today we have to step up planning, he said.

The Premier League said it "welcomed the government's support".

The governing body of English cricket, the ECB, has been tasked with leading the planning effort for all sports and is looking for ways to play sport behind closed doors in 'bio-safe' places.

A Culture Media and Sports exit spokesperson said: We held an initial and constructive meeting with medical representatives from various professional and elite sports organizations, government and PHE ( Public health england ) to intensify the planning of what should be done so that athletes can return to training, when it is considered safe to do so.

This would be before any return to high-level competitive sport that would only happen when medical experts advise that this can be done safely. Discussions with sports organizations will continue on this.

While no decisions were made at the Premier League meeting, the clubs reviewed plans to resume training, which will initially be limited to small groups of players with no use of indoor facilities.

Clubs would also have to disinfect training equipment and facilities after each training session and the number of personnel present on the training ground would also be limited.

The league said in a statement it would consult on any plans with players and team managers.

It was agreed that the PFA (Association of Professional Soccer Players), LMA ( League Managers Association ), players and managers are key to this process and will be consulted more, the league said.

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