Three key meetings will take place this week in the hope that the Premier League will get the green light to restart on June 19.
Players, coaches and clubs will all be consulted in a week of crisis, but there is a general feeling that the first flight of English football will follow Germany, Italy and Spain on the road to recovery.
The Premier League has a three-stage plan that will see the return of matches next month and, with the first hurdle already gone, it now looks very likely that the next two will be overcome.
Players and managers will hold a meeting on Tuesday with the Premier League and representatives from the Professional Footballers ’Association and the League Managers’ Association.
They will be surveyed in phase two of the training – which will see players starting contact training on Thursday – after assurances from medical experts.
The players have already seen the Bundesliga take over and, after two rounds, seems to have gone without a hitch.
But there was also a key conference call last Friday with Premier League officials, the PFA, Deputy Surgeon Jonathan Van-Tam, Watford captain Troy Deeney and former English striker Ian Wright, among others , for a full briefing on the potential risks to BAME players.
It is understood that everything went well and Professor Van-Tam – who spoke well at a players’ meeting two weeks ago – tried to give the assurance that the increased risk for young black players in shape was minimal, although it was higher than for white players.
Government experts estimate that it is significantly higher for members of the BAME society from a socio-economic point of view, but for super-fit footballers, the risk is 0.04 for black players against 0.02 for white players.
That gave level assurance and a way now for players to want to come back because they saw the Bundesliga prepare – and now they’re ready to follow suit.
A club source said, “They’ve seen it work in Germany – and now believe it can happen here. “
Players and managers can always ask for a later restart date, as many would prefer June 26, but the Premier League – which publicly stuck to June 12 – doesn’t want to delay much more and wants to start.
The compromise could be June 19 and by Thursday, the bigger picture could be much clearer.
The 20 Premier League clubs will meet again on Wednesday in a much brighter and more positive mood and are expected to vote when they return to phase two of the squad.
Even the biggest skeptics would be on board and the vote could be unanimous, which would be a huge boost for the Premier League.
Thursday’s Premier League meeting will then discuss a date, a focal point for all football fans, as they will discuss the match schedule, television dates and also the warning about what will happen if the season is interrupted.
But the mood is bright this week because the worst of the crisis seems to be over and now football can start to think about coming back.
Calendar of meetings
- Meeting between players (captains or PFA representatives), managers, PFA and Premier League. This will tell if the players and managers are on board for phase two of the training
- Premier League meeting with 20 clubs to vote on whether to proceed to phase two of the training. The overwhelming feeling is that he will get the green light
- There is also a meeting of the EFL board of directors when the championship clubs and leagues one and two will be consulted on what will happen next. Nothing to decide this week
- Premier League clubs meet again when they may well set a firm date for the return of matches, with June 19 a potential compromise. Meeting times and television dates will also be discussed
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Phase 2 training
The government has released training guidelines for elite sport and it would be the second of three stages in soccer for return to games.
The orientation will see:
- Attacking again is allowed – but “face to face contact is kept to a reasonable minimum”
- Each club would appoint a coach wearing PPE equipment to supervise the training – and should report on risk assessment at each session
- They will start in small groups, expand to larger sessions before 11-11 games before returning to full games
- Clubs must keep “meticulous” written records of each session, only “essential” physiotherapy sessions can be performed and even throw-ins will be monitored to stop the risk of balloon infection
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