Football in England has been suspended since March 13 following an emergency meeting between the Premier League, Football Association, the English Football League and the Women’s Super League.
Thursday’s conference call was the second meeting of Premier League clubs in the last two days after they unanimously agreed to resume contact training.
There have been 12 positive results across the first three rounds of coronavirus testing at Premier League clubs. Four positive tests were announced on Wednesday evening.
The Premier League clubs have taken part in three rounds of testing and there have been 12 positives cases, but 99.5 per cent of those testing have returned negative results.
‘Every positive result will have to have been taken seriously, but the relatively low figures will have given a degree of confidence for those players and managers that they are returning to as safe an environment as possible.
‘A lot can happen in the next three weeks but what clubs now have is that definitive line in the sand, they know what they are aiming for in terms of Project Restart. In the case of four of those clubs, they are playing on June 17, with the rest taking part over the weekend of June 19, 20 and 21.
‘The expectation from the Premier League is that the remaining 92 fixtures will be completed in a six-week timeframe. A lot of other items remain under discussion, notably where all the fixtures will be played.
‘The Premier League are also discussing a Plan B – what happens if there is a second peak of the virus and those fixtures cannot be fulfilled at some point throughout June and July? But clubs have that June 17 target to focus on and that is what they will chase.’
Gary Neville said this week that he thought Premier League players would only need “two or three weeks” of training to get up to speed.
Speaking onThe Football Show, he said: “I don’t see players’ fitness being a concern – I don’t see them needing four or five weeks. Even when they’ve had six weeks off for pre-season, within 10 days of going back in they’d be playing games again in pre-season.
“They wouldn’t be 100 per cent fit but these are uncharted times. I wouldn’t expect the players to be absolutely perfect. I feel two to three weeks is about right to get them back playing again.
“We’re constantly told throughout the season that players are overworked, play too many matches. What we can’t have is a situation where the players have had an eight-week break to then say they need six weeks of training to get back to fitness. That doesn’t feel right.
“If Harry Kane was borderline fit for the European Championships and was going to be back two weeks before the tournament, he’d be saying he was fit and ready to go. I don’t see the difference with this situation.”
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