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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020
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Premier League to monitor training and publicise tests, planning underway for Liverpool trophy presentation

‘Project Restart’ is a go – and all eyes are on Jurgen Klopp’s Reds as they hope to wrap up the silverware.

PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS will be subjected to no-notice spot-checks to ensure they are complying with pandemic training protocols, while the league has also committed to making every positive Covid-19 test public knowledge.

sp-britain-liverpool-covid-19-premier-league Anfield is locked up at the minute. Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The 20 top-flight clubs unanimously agreed the protocols for small group training to resume from Tuesday and will gather again on 26 May to discuss protocols for contact training, which will be the clearest signpost as to when the Premier League can actually restart and will require further consultation with players and managers.

12 June has been mentioned as a start date, but the league’s chief executive Richard Masters has said that was only ever to be treated as a “staging post”.

The first step involves small groups of up to five players working together, whilst practising social distancing, with sessions to last no more than 75 minutes for any one player.

The league’s director of football Richard Garlick said it was important for every club to have confidence that their rivals were sticking to the rules, and said the league had given thought to how to police it.

“We can request information from videoing of the sessions and GPS data, too,” he said.

“We are also looking at bringing in our own independent audit inspection team that we’ll scale up over the next few days which will give us the ability to have inspections at training grounds to start with on a no-notice basis.

“Gradually, we aim to ramp that up so we can have an inspector at every training ground. That will enable us to give everyone confidence that the protocols are being complied with, and give the public confidence that we are trying to create a very safe working environment.”

Masters said any positive test would be made public in bid to be as “transparent and open” as possible, although the league itself will not name the player or club.

The results of the first round of coronavirus testing will be confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.

In the first phase, players will be expected to arrive at their club’s training ground wearing kit, and leave three parking spaces between their car and any others present.

Players will not be able to gather in communal areas. Face coverings must be worn, while all training equipment will be disinfected by club staff wearing personal protective equipment [PPE].

gary-neville-has-an-opinion-about-absolutely-everything-jokes-jurgen-klopp Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. Source: Martin Rickett

Meanwhile, Masters hopes Liverpool can have a trophy presentation if they complete their march to their first title in 30 years.

With no further discussions held regarding curtailing the season, and a return to training — and in turn, action — on the cards, the latest developments in ‘Project Restart’ will raise hopes among Liverpool supporters that the season can be completed.

And Masters hopes that should they wrap up the title, they will be allowed to hold the traditional presentation.

“If it is at all possible, yes (we will hold one),” he said. “We would like to have a trophy presentation to give the players and staff the moment they have worked so hard for.

“We would try and do it unless it wasn’t possible because of safety concerns. We are focused on finishing the 2019/20 season, but we also have to plan for all eventualities.”

Masters said the league had not yet reached any kind of cut-off point where it would become impossible to restart this season without impacting upon the 2020/21 campaign.

“There will come a point when next season becomes difficult to schedule. We are not at that point yet,” he said. “The June return and July finish leaves time for a break for other competitions to be completed and start the season towards end of August or very early September.

“Obviously what we want to do is ensure the season is completed in a way which preserves other competitions but also preserves our ability to start and deliver 38 match rounds next season in a proper calendar.”

To do that, Masters admits there is a possibility of games being spread throughout the week.

“Given we are trying to get the season away in a slightly truncated situation, we may look at some interesting scheduling options,” he said. “Nothing we can confirm yet, but we’ve got to make it work for everybody.”

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