Premier League: Project Restart enters its first phase
by Bryan Bejarano
A few days ago, the 20 clubs of the Premier League met virtually for more than 2 hours to analyze the points proposed in the Restart Project and refine the details to get it going.
After that meeting, it was announced that the clubs agreed that on May 19, the players would return to practice, starting phase 1 of the restart project.
The practices will be carried out under strict health controls, which include that each player must complete a questionnaire about their health status and pass a temperature control test. During practices, players will train individually and in groups of no more than five players with a stepped turn system to comply with social distancing measures.
The teams must carry out COVID-19 tests on all their players so that they can be approved for training. If a player test is positive, this must be isolated for a week.
All the measures of this first stage of the restart project were agreed between players, coaches, doctors from all the Premier League clubs, and the representatives of the British government. According to statements by the representatives of the Premier League: “All established protocols are to guarantee the highest level of security. The health and well-being of all participants in the Premier League’s priority and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process”.
There are still points under discussion.
The return to training is a big step towards the back of action in the Premier League, and despite the fact that all the clubs have agreed to abide by what the Restart Project proposes, there are still some points on which there is no agreement.
There is an issue with the agreed date to summarize the activity. In several communications weeks ago, June 12 was mentioned as the selected date. But after last week’s meeting, several players indicated that it is too early to resume a high-performance competition such as the Premier League and that players need at least five weeks to be in full physical condition to play. Raheem Sterling has been one of the players who has asked for more preparation time, in a virtual interview the player said: “You cannot go back with one or two weeks of training. You need four or five full weeks, especially if you are going to return to the competition, where you literally get paid to win. You need preparation; you can’t jump onto the field directly”.
Another player who has strongly criticized the return of the Premier League in June is Derby County captain Wayne Rooney. He used his column in The Sunday Times newspaper to express his annoyance: “I do not understand. Until the government gives the green light to physical contact, we can not train or prepare properly. ”
Given these facts, it seems that the date was delayed a little, and it will be June 26 when the ball officially rolls again in the Premier. The question that remains to be answered is where, since the proposal to use neutral stadiums continues to be rejected by several clubs and an agreement has not yet been reached. Britain’s Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden commented on this: “What we are looking for, but not everything is decided, is to finish the season behind closed doors from mid-June onwards. I had some constructive discussions Thursday with the FA, EFL, and Premier League. We are working hard with them to try to come back.”
We hope that the restart project measures are correct so that the players can prepare adequately, maintain their health, and deliver the first-class soccer that we are used to seeing in the Premier League.