Premier League training will resume this week after clubs unanimously agreed to a set of medical protocols to keep players safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was taken at a league shareholders’ meeting and could see clubs undertaking limited group-based training by Thursday, provided a first round of Covid-19 testing proves negative.
The protocols were put to a vote after weeks of preparation and some dissent from club doctors and players. They are the first stage in the proposed return of the Premier League.
The protocols enable socially distant training and further protocols will need to be devised to enable contact training and, ultimately, matches. It was acknowledged at the meeting that the stages to come will prove more difficult, with much work still to be done.
Players in particular will need to be convinced. While the Bundesliga made a successful return behind closed doors this past weekend, Germany is at a different stage in dealing with the coronavirus crisis. On Sunday Germany had 589 new confirmed cases of the virus. In the UK that figure was 3,534.