Football

Premier League clubs agree to resume contact training

Players have been training in small groups without contact since 19 May

Premier League clubs have unanimously voted to resume contact training as ‘Project Restart’ moves to phase two.

Players will be able to “train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising unnecessary close contact,” a statement said.

Discussions continue on plans to resume the season when “conditions allow”, it added.

Premier League players and staff will continue to be tested twice a week for coronavirus.

So far eight people have tested positive after 1,744 tests across the league. The third round of results is expected to be released on Wednesday.

The decision to return to contact training was agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the Professional Football Association (PFA), the League Managers Association (LMA) and the government.

Plans for the third phase of Project Restart include a step towards normal training and build-up to competitive games.

Speaking on Friday, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told BBC Sport the league was “as confident as we can be” about resuming the season in June, with 92 fixtures still to play.

Squads started non-contact training last week for the first time since the Premier League was suspended on 13 March because of the pandemic.

Clubs will discuss further issues on Thursday including the use of neutral stadiums, how to decide the season in the event of curtailment and voting on rebates to broadcasters.