Premier League clubs approve return to contact training

Premier League clubs voted unanimously to resume contact training as plans to restart the season moved to the next phase.

The Premier League season is currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.   -  Getty Images

Premier League soccer clubs on Wednesday voted unanimously to return to contact training, including tackling, as the English top flight moved a step closer to a resumption after the shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A statement, following a meeting of all 20 clubs, said: “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.”

Clubs last week began the first phase of 'Project Restart' after agreeing to a return to training in small groups under strict limitations and no contact.

READ | Mourinho does not expect to see ‘crazy’ transfers after virus

The announcement that Phase Two can commence follows extensive testing of players and staff for coronavirus -- with eight positives, including Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down world sport. However, Wednesday's vote is a big step towards the Premier League completing the 92 remaining fixtures.

Phase Two allows up to 10 players to work together and would ease the time restrictions on training sessions and allow players to be closer.

The third phase would be a move to a more typical form of training in the build-up to actual games.

The league had signalled June 12 as a potential start date but it now looks likely to be later in the month.

  Dugout videos