Exclusive: Daily tests, masks and social distancing - the protocol facing footballers as Premier League maps out return

All Premier League players will have to undergo a series of stringent health checks and daily tests before they're even allowed to return to training under draft medical guidelines issued today by the Premier League.

The document, seen by ITV News, has been circulated to players ahead of a meeting with the League later this week, when they will get an opportunity to question the protocols devised for the start of a phased return.

It outlines a very different regime to the uncomplicated one that players followed just a couple of months ago. They will be stepping into a very different world.

There will be a risk assessment on all players prior to training for the first time, which will include screening for any potential respiratory or cardiac complications.

Premier League stadiums across the country have remain closed. Credit: PA

All players will be tested for the virus in the 48 hours before they intend to train. If a player tests positive and is displaying symptoms they will be required to isolate for seven days and then be retested.

If they aren’t displaying symptoms, they will still have to isolate for seven days and if they are showing symptoms but have returned a negative test, again they will have to stay away from the training ground for seven days.

Players who provide a negative test and are showing no symptoms will be submitted to a daily temperature check before they’re even allowed into the training ground and there will be a ‘drive-through’ testing facility on each site, paid for by the Premier League, where players will be tested twice a week.

Samples will be sent away for analysis and results can be expected in 24 hours.

The Premier League’s foreign stars, returning to England from abroad, will not be allowed to go to their club’s training ground for 14 days after they arrive back in the country, unless they submit a negative antigen test for Covid-19.

Games could be played without spectators. Credit: PA

Every player will have a designated parking space, which must be at least three spaces away from the next car. Changing at the ground will not be allowed, nor will food be provided before or after any session. During those sessions all players will be encouraged to wear a mask or a snood, in addition they will be asked not to spit and leave the pitch at a minimum distance of two metres from any teammate. These distancing guidelines will be modified when small group training begins.

If any player needs medical attention or essential physiotherapy, staff treating them must wear PPE; at the very minimum this means a disposable mask, gloves and apron. If treating a head injury, whoever is treating it will be required to wear a visor.

Players will also be required to tell clubs immediately if they start to display symptoms away from the training ground or if any members of their household do.

Every player will be required to sign a document before training starts to agree to abide by their club’s Covid-19 operational policy, but within the document they are reassured that nothing within the protocol supersedes any club’s legal obligations.

Clubs will also be required to retain schedules, video recordings and training data which must be made available to the Premier League if they ask. They will also have to appoint a designated Covid-19 Officer responsible for devising and managing the protocol.

If the magnitude of what is required to get the Premier League up and running again had not yet struck home and if players were not fully aware of what they would have to go through to make it all happen, this document will potentially prove to be a sobering read.

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