Coronavirus - Premier League chief growing 'confident' on June re-start

Ruben Hill
May 23, 2020

June 12 has been earmarked as a potential date to begin football once again and Masters believes it's not overly optimistic to suggest that date, with clubs voting on Monday in favour of stepping up training with larger groups of players.

Prenetics - the biotechnology company leading the Project Screen consortium that won the contract to test Premier League players and staff - say tests can take up to 48 hours to process and new results are expected to be published this weekend. "We've taken the first step", Masters told BBC Sport, though he did warn that the Premier League will be "flexible" over the restart date.

"It's great for everybody, including the fans, to see our players back on the training ground".

Top flight teams voted to make an advance of £125 million (S$216.6 million) to the English Football League (EFL) and National League sides last month, which included early solidarity payments and parachute payments.

Watford's Troy Deeney and Chelsea's N'Golo Kante opted out of training citing health concerns after Britain's statistics office said black men are 4.2 times more likely to die from COVID-19-related causes than white males.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said phase two, the return of contact training in elite sports, could get government approval "later this week".

Premier League clubs will undergo a second round of coronavirus testing on Friday.

"We think it is safe to return".

"If it was starting tomorrow training 11 v 11 with contact, with everybody at the training ground, I would not go that's for sure", he said. We have to respect players' decisions not to return to training. "I think it is impossible because it would be less than three weeks' training after a long period without doing anything".

"There are a lot of mouths to feed and there's not an easy solution. other than getting the games back on as soon as we can, and when it is safe", Barber added.

Matches will be played behind closed doors due to the virus, but Masters said the Premier League want games to be staged at clubs' normal stadiums rather than neutral venues, which was the original suggestion.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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