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Premier League clubs to carry out 1,000 coronavirus tests this week


Premier League clubs will carry out 1,000 tests this week as they take the first steps towards Project Restart.

Players will be under strict training protocols which will see them all tested at least twice a week with the first tests rolled out this weekend.

Premier League bosses will hold another meeting with the 20 clubs on Monday and will vote through a move to return to the first phase of training this week.

Most clubs are expected to go back to training on Tuesday, players will be given the chance to opt out but Mirror Sport understands the vast majority want to return.

Every player will have to take a test before going back, the results are expected to be delivered within 48 hours and they will be monitored regularly in the first phase with tests done twice a week.

The Premier League is hoping to return in June

Premier League bosses are funding the £4m testing exercise carried out with equipment from Hong Kong firm Prenetics with a promise it is being done with Government approval.

The players will be given a raft of strict guidelines including a warning not to spit even in the first training sessions as their phlegm can travel up to an incredible 15 metres and could potentially spread the coronavirus.

Watford have reported a delay in the tests but expect to be back in on Wednesday while Arsenal also hope to have every player tested by Tuesday at the latest and to start the first phase of training 24 hours later.

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Clubs expect the first phase of training – which will be done individually and under strict protocols – will last up to two weeks before stepping up preparations with games now hoped to start on June 19.

Arsenal returned to training earlier this month

Several players have spoken out against returning to games with Troy Deeney, Danny Rose, Willian and Aaron Cresswell all voicing concerns and some clubs are bracing themselves for two or three not reporting up.

But after discussions with the players and managers last week, the expectation is the vast majority will come back and the Professional Footballers’ Association has urged players to watch the Bundesliga this weekend to see what it looks like.

They are facing up to the new normal with players expected to turn up to training changed in their cars, park at least three spaces apart from each other, balls will be sterilised and they will do individual sessions.

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There could be another Premier League meeting later this week as they step up preparations to return as UEFA wanted all leagues to show their plans or framework by May 25.

That now seems unlikely for the Premier League who must still push through the plans past police and Government officials who will give the final green light for clubs to play in their own stadiums.

But there is now likely to be a series of club meetings to move in the direction of Project Restart and, with particular attention being shown to what is happening in the Bundesliga, the Premier League appears to be on its way back.

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