Championship players will have to carry out their own coronavirus tests at home after the first batch of tests in clubs, according to the EFL return to training protocol.
Detailed instructions, which were obtained by BBC Sport, reveal that after the initial evaluation on the training grounds Thursday and Friday, the tests should be “self-administered” on the morning of training twice a week.
The EFL hopes the clubs will be able to resume phase 1 training from Monday, but the protocol states that players who test positive and show no symptoms must “isolate themselves for 14 days”.
Those who are positive and have symptoms should “isolate themselves for seven days” and will then not undergo any further antigen testing, while those who are negative but who have symptoms should “isolate for seven days and then retest” .
It’s different from the Premier League, which saw six positive tests return from the first round of player and staff tests, but said the people would remain isolated for seven days.
Before training can resume, championship players will need to actively “join” the first phase of training, as directed by the government.
They will do so by confirming in writing that they have received the “Covid-19 Operational Policy” and that they agree to participate in the training.
The EFL protocol, which has been distributed to players, states that they “will be able to” withdraw “from politics at any time.”
The 26-page document covers preparations before returning, the plan for the Covid-19 antigen test (CAT) and what small group training will look like.
Similar to the Premier League, championship clubs will have to train in small groups of five for a maximum of 75 minutes, with 15 minutes for warm-up and cool-down.
Footballs, GPS units and other equipment will be disinfected before and after the session, with an essential social distance between individuals at all times.
The protocol also says:
- It is “recommended to use as little footballs and equipment as possible”
- “Attacking” and “all opposing activities” are prohibited
- Equipment will be disinfected if necessary, including “cones, goal posts, dummies, GPS units, balls and gloves”
- PPE may be required, including “mask and gloves” when injured players enter the gymnasium and “coaching staff will be asked to wear gloves during sessions”
- Players are requested not to “chat as a group” and will not be allowed to use ice baths, showers or undergo “non-essential treatment”
- Players will have designated parking spaces, will need to arrive in their own kit and bring their own drinks and towels.
The protocol specifies that the “initial tests” will be carried out on the training ground and that players will have a five-minute time slot for their test. They will also receive their training kit and football boots during this visit.
He continues: “After the initial test, the following CATs will be self-administered and must be performed at home on the morning of the training two specified days per week.
“This is part of the latest EFL guidelines and will guarantee a minimal risk of cross infection.
“Players and staff will be given instructions and advice to help them do this.
“The samples must be given to medical personnel upon their immediate arrival at the training ground so that they can be sent by courier to the designated laboratory.
“The test laboratory and the kits have been selected by the league and as such, we do not control them. “
Another requirement before the first day of training is that each player undergoes a brief medical examination with the club doctor, where he will measure the cardiac and pulmonary auscultations. [sounds], as well as oxygen saturations.
The EFL guidelines also require players and staff to complete a daily medical questionnaire on training days. This must be left before arrival at the training ground, otherwise they will be denied access.