Premier League wants full-contact training as early as next week/Marcos Alonso & Kepa pose for fan pictures without observing guidelines

Premier League eyeing full-contact training in near future

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Premier League has been suspended since the 13th of March.

However, in recent days, the English top-flight has begun to take small steps towards a return to action.

One of the first steps in ‘Project Restart’ was a return to training in small groups, something all 20 Premier League took part in this week.

The current training regime being implemented by clubs in the English top-flight does not involve any physical contact, with players instead expected to maintain social distancing rules.

However, according to a recent report from The Times, the Premier League wants clubs to start full-contact training by the end of next week.

Crucially, though, it is added that the league faces a significant challenge to convince players, especially those from BAME backgrounds, to agree to the next stage of Project Restart.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 01: Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea arrives prior to the Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea FC at The King Power Stadium on February 01, 2020 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea stars breach guidelines

As well as implementing social distancing rules in training, the Premier League is also carrying out mass testing of both players and staff.

The results of the first phase of testing came back earlier this week, with six individuals out of 748 players and club staff having tested positive for COVID-19.

Those diagnosed were forced to isolate for a week, and are currently unable to attend their club’s training ground.

As a result, for both health reasons and to ensure that their squads can train as much as possible, clubs will no doubt be keen to make sure that their players stay as safe as possible over the coming months.

However, a number of Premier League stars have, unfortunately, not adhered to social distancing guidelines during lockdown.

The most notable cases have been Jack Grealish and Kyle Walker.

However, the likes of Serge Aurier, Moussa Sissoko, Mason Mount and Declan Rice have also broken lockdown rules.

Now, as per the Evening Standard, Chelsea are set to remind players of their social distancing responsibilities, after Marcos Alonso and Kepa Arrizabalaga posed for photos with supporters without observing current guidelines.

The Blues duo are said to have been approached by fans in London’s Hyde Park, and granted requests for photos.

However, the report from the Standard claims that photos showcase the fact that the fans were too close to the players, given the current social distancing rules on staying two metres apart.

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.