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Premier League clubs returned to training for the first time in small groups last week Tuesday, albeit with social-distancing measures in place for the phase one of Project Restart.
The United Kingdom government has now given Premier League teams the green light for “close-contact” and “competitive” training for the second phase of the project amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidance for stage two training reads: “Stage Two training can be described as the resumption of close-contact [interaction within the two-metre social-distancing boundary] training where pairs, small groups and/or teams will be able to interact in much closer contact [e.g. close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, technical equipment sharing, etc].
“The progression of training into Stage Two is vital to prepare fully for the return of competitive sporting fixtures in many sports. Close-contact training is required to replicate match formations and conditions, so that the sport-specific demands can be placed on the body, mind and senses.
“Close-contact training develops the sport-specific fitness which is an essential element for player safety and a reduced risk of injury during competition.
“It is anticipated that engaging in this type of training would start with smaller ‘clusters’ of 2-3 athletes and eventually progress to larger groups of 4-12 athletes, and ultimately full-team training, without social distancing possible at all times. Under Stage Two conditions, as per Stage One, social distancing will continue to be the expectation at all other times aside from technical training.”
The Premier League is expected to restart in mid June, with football having been suspended since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.