Premier League players are free to resume tackling in training after clubs voted to approve the implementation of stage two medical protocols at a shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday.
The outcome of the vote was unanimous among the top tier’s 20 clubs and had been anticipated as opposition to the League’s Project Restart falls away after weeks of negotiations.
Clubs will now be able to start contact training from Thursday, and work together in small groups. This process is vital in getting players match fit, but would also increase the risk of exposure to Covid-19. The outcome of the vote shows clubs believe that the risk can be contained.
The new protocols place continued emphasis on personal hygiene as well as introducing new practices, such as using GPS trackers to measure the extent of physical contact between players.
In a statement, the Premier League said: “Shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training, marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so. Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.
“The Premier League’s priority is the health and wellbeing of all participants. Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.
“Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA, LMA and the Government. Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow.”