Premier League's three key Project Restart steps in bid to resume season on June 19by John Cross, https://www.facebook.com/johncrossmirror/
We might finally get a date to put in the diary.
Three key meetings will take place this week with the hope that the Premier League will get the green light to restart on June 19.
Players, managers and the clubs will all be consulted in a crunch week but the general feeling is positive that English football’s top flight will follow Germany, Italy and Spain on the road to recovery.
The Premier League has a three-step plan which will see games come back next month and, with the first hurdle already passed, it now seems highly likely the next two will be overcome.
Players and managers will hold a meeting on Tuesday with the Premier League and representatives from the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association.
They will be sounded out on phase two of training - which will see players begin contact training from as early as Thursday - after assurances from medical experts.
Players have already seen the Bundesliga resume and, after two rounds, it appears to have gone without a hitch.
But there was also a key conference call last Friday with Premier League officials, the PFA, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Watford captain Troy Deeney and ex-England striker Ian Wright among others given a full briefing on potential risk to BAME players.
It is understood it went well and Professor Van-Tam - who spoke well in a players’ meeting two weeks ago - tried to give assurances that the increased risk for young, fit black players was minute even if it was higher than for white players.
Government experts believe it is significantly higher for BAME members of society on a socioeconomic level but for super-fit footballers the risk is 0.04 for black players compared to 0.02 for white players.
That has given a level reassurance and a pathway now for players to want to return as they have seen the Bundesliga go to plan - and now they are ready to follow suit.
One club source said: “They have seen it work in Germany - and now believe it can happen here.”
The players and managers may still push for a later restart date as many would prefer June 26 but the Premier League - who have publicly stuck to June 12 - do not want to delay much further and want to get going.
The compromise may be June 19- and by Thursday, the whole picture may be much clearer.
Then on Wednesday, the Premier League’s 20 clubs will get together again in a much brighter, positive frame of mind and they are expected to vote through a return to phase two of training.
Even the bigger doubters are understood to be on board and the vote could be unanimous which would be a huge boost for the Premier League.
Thursday’s Premier League meeting will then discuss a date, a focal point for every football fan to look forward to as they will discuss the fixture schedule, TV dates and also the caveat of what happens if the season gets curtailed.
But the mood is bright this week as the worst of the crisis appears to be over and now football can begin to think about coming back.
- Meeting between players (either captains or PFA reps), managers, PFA and Premier League. This will make it clear whether the players and managers are onboard for phase two of training
- Premier League meeting with all the 20 clubs who will vote on whether to proceed with phase two of training. The overwhelming feeling is that it will be given the green light
- There is also an EFL board meeting when clubs from the Championship and Leagues One and Two will be consulted on what happens next. Nothing likely to be decided on this week
- Premier League clubs meet again when they may well set a firm date for when games can return, with June 19 a potential compromise. Fixture schedules and TV dates will also be discussed
Phase two training
The Government have issued its training guidelines for elite sport and this would be football’s second of three steps to the return to games.
Guidance will see:
- Tackling is allowed again - but “face to face contact is kept to a reasonable minimum”
- Every club would appoint a coach wearing PPE equipment to oversee training - and they would have to make a risk assessment report on every session
- They will start in small groups, widen out to bigger sessions before 11 v 11 games ahead of a return to full games
- Clubs have to keep “meticulous” written records of every sessions, only “essential” physio sessions can be done and even throw-ins will be monitored to stop the risk of infection being passed by the ball
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