Disinfected pitches, tackling ban: rules for EPL return
ENGLISH Premier League players will be subjected to strict testing and even firmer social distancing measures if they are to return to training.
However, Newcastle United left-back Danny Rose has strongly criticised any plans for the league to recommence any time soon.
All 20 EPL clubs are said to have been sent a 40-page document outlining protocols for a possible resumption of group training next week.
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It is understood players have received a condensed eight-page document from their union, the Professional Footballers' Association.
Life as a professional soccer player will be unrecognisable from before the coronavirus pandemic as they will be tested twice a week and subjected to a daily temperature check and questionnaire, the BBC reported. If any player tests positive, with or without symptoms, they will be forced to self-isolate for seven days.
Once they are allowed in the training ground - where they must have travelled to individually - they will not be allowed to gather in communal areas and will not be fed.
Once on the pitch, tackling and contact will reportedly be banned for the first phase of team training while all equipment, including playing surfaces, will be disinfected.
Players, the PFA and UK government staff are reported to be meeting on Wednesday over safety issues surrounding a possible restart.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor is hopeful a resumption can happen if players are open-minded.
"If you're asking me, with the type of guarantees or assurances that would give confidence to the players, then (returning is) achievable," he said.
Rose in comments to rapper Don EE on Instagram on Tuesday slammed the resumption talk and said the focus in the UK should be on the health of its population.
"It's a f***ing joke. I'm not even going to lie," Rose told Lock'Don Live. "The government is saying 'bring football back' because it is going to boost the nation's morale.
I don't give a f*** about the nation's morale, bro, people's lives are at risk."
Rose, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur to Newcastle United, said it was sad that people were getting sick.
"Football shouldn't even be spoken about coming back until the numbers have dropped massively," he said.
It's bollocks." Player safety is arguably the biggest hurdle for "Project Restart" to overcome, followed by the opposition to playing out the season at neutral venues. However, the possibility of the Premier League campaign being completed on a home-and-away basis appears to be an option.
RYAN IN DARK OVER BRIGHTON RETURN
Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan remains in the dark as to when he'll be required back at Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion.
While the UK club has been hard-hit by the coronavirus, Ryan has been back in Australia during football's shutdown, training in isolation in NSW. A third player at Brighton tested positive for the virus over the weekend and Ryan said he was uncertain where the Premier League's return to play stood.
"As for moving forward … we're all pretty much still in the dark with it all," Ryan said in an Instagram interview with Optus Sport on Monday. "With all the uncertainty that's going on at the minute - you guys honestly know as much as me.
"(In) the UK … Boris Johnson addressed the public [Sunday] night. And I think [Monday] there's a Premier League meeting as well.
"So hopefully when I wake up [Tuesday] morning I'll know a little bit more moving forward and have some more clarity.
"But apparently, another one of our players has picked up the virus which is unfortunate but he's in a pretty good place now at the minute - he didn't really feel any symptoms so it's just one of those cases." Ryan was uncertain whether his teammates' positive tests would affect the timing of his return.
He is among the overseas-based Socceroos to return to Australia, while Brighton teammate Aaron Mooy has remained in the UK.
"I'm just playing it by ear,' Ryan said.
"I'm in communication with the club every day. I wasn't going to be making any drastic movements before these meetings were occurring … so hopefully, I can wake up tomorrow morning and have a bit more clarity.
"But it's just going to be depending on what the details of the lockdown are going to be from the UK government and the Premier League will then be able to put a plan together on what they can and can't do.
"So I'm trying not to get caught up in it all, I'm just trying to live my life based on the facts that I'm receiving."