West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady has urged Premier League clubs to make their return to training as safe “as it possibly can be”, or risk having the season cancelled like other European leagues.
Some top-flight clubs, including West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham, have reopened their training facilities under strict conditions, while others remain shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- PL season can only be completed at 8-10 neutral venues
- When is your club back in training?
The Premier League met on Friday to discuss ‘Project Restart’ and a potential return date for football, with clubs agreeing that full training and playing will only happen “with Government guidance, under expert medical advice, and after consultation with players and managers”.
Brady says every Premier League club remains committed to finishing the season but fears it could be cancelled if they fail to enforce strict social distancing rules and rigorous testing.
“The key here is to make the environment as safe as it can possibly be because we want to be able to restart the games and finish our season,” Brady wrote in The Sun.
“To do that we have to be ready – otherwise we’ll end up like France, Belgium and Holland, who have all had their season curtailed.”
Brady says West Ham are currently in the first of four phases to complete the season, with players training individually at the club’s Rush Green base.
“They arrive in their own car, dressed in their kit, go on the pitches and do their individual training, then get back in their car and go home,” she added.
“And then the next player turns up and does the same – it’s a one-in, one-out policy that all clubs are now following.
“No contact is allowed between the player and anyone else – although we do have doctors in case a player has a medical emergency – and social distancing must remain in place.”
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero believes “the majority of players are scared” at the prospect of returning to football too soon, while defender Aymeric Laporte says the decision should be left to the medical experts.
Brady says she will discuss the protective measures with West Ham’s squad and seek their approval before supporting a return to full training and matches.
“The most important aspect of all this is not what we, as chairmen and CEO’s of clubs want the protocols to be, but that the players and managers agree and are comfortable with them and that they believe it is safe to commence contact training and play games,” Brady added.
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