The Premier League has today given clubs the green light to play friendlies. AFP/VNA Photo
LONDON — The Premier League has today given clubs the green light to play friendlies, but with a number of strict instructions which include players driving to games in their own cars.
Ahead of the anticipated season restart on June 17, clubs in the top-flight have requested permission to face other teams to step up match preparations, which have now been accepted.
The games will be played at either stadiums or training grounds but the Premier League has outlined a list of conditions to ensure hygiene and social distancing rules are adhered to.
- Clubs are forbidden from travelling for further than 90 minutes
- All players must travel in their own cars, possibly in their kits
- No official referees will be allowed, with members of coaching staff taking charge
- Full risk-assessments of the stadium/training ground before games
The Premier League will consider granting special dispensation to teams who are based too far away from other clubs, such as Newcastle and Norwich, if they have to travel further to play games.
It is also understood that all players involved must have recorded a negative coronavirus test in recent checks, if they want to play. Any other members of staff present at the games behind closed doors must also have undertaken tests for Covid-19.
Clubs are now expected to organise friendlies later this week after receiving permission from the Premier League, with the season resumption less than three weeks away.
Parking arrangements must be pre-planned “to ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times and all unnecessary congestion or congregation is eliminated”.
Clubs are now expected to organise friendlies later this week after receiving the necessary permission from the Premier League, with the season resumption less than three weeks away.
Championship sides have already received requests to play games against Premier League opposition, and must follow the same guidelines. Full contact training for Championship clubs was approved on Monday evening.
The English Football League will issue guidance to Championship clubs, and potentially the four play-off teams in League Two at this stage, later this week.
It is possible that clubs who have already faced Premier League opposition home and away in the domestic campaign could face each other again in friendlies.
Liverpool and West Ham have already held training sessions at their own stadiums and, earlier this week, Brendan Rodgers, the Leicester manager, admitted he is preparing his squad for ‘dress rehearsals’ at the King Power Stadium.
“We’ll look at trying to prepare as best we can for that. We’ll have some practice games in our own stadium before we play, so they’ll feel and get a sense of that," said Rodgers.
“The game is not the same. It’s absolutely not. It can’t be. However, it’s what we have to do. The intensity and commitment of the players will still be there. We’d obviously love our supporters to be there but there won’t be any. However, we’ll have a cause we’ll be fighting for.
“They may not be with us in the stadium but there’ll be millions of people watching, thousands of Leicester City supporters around the world watching, so we have a duty for them to do the best we can, whether the stadium is full or whether it was empty, and that will be our focus.” — AFP