Premier League clubs have been given the go ahead to play friendlies ahead of the season restart on June 17. The clubs will have to follow strict protocols for the games, which may be held in their main stadium or training ground.
According to Sky Sports, protocols include directives such as: playing venues should not be more than 90 minutes away; players will need to travel in their own car and arrive in full kit. The matches will be arbitrated by members of the clubs’ coaching staff and players instead of referees.
Moreover, players will only be permitted to participate in games if they have recently tested negative for Covid-19. The clubs will also make arrangements for parking to ensure social distancing at all times. The hope is that the friendlies will strengthen preparation for a full return. There will be a full risk evaluation of every venue before the friendlies are played.
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A few Premier League clubs have already reached out to Championship sides, who will be issued guidance from the English Football League (EFL) later this week to participate in the games. Regarding the distance of travel, the Premier League will give special consideration to clubs like Newcastle and Norwich -- situated further away than most -- to travel and play games.
Many players across clubs have found returning to full training after the break extremely hard with Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud disclosing that ‘almost all’ of the squad got blisters after the practice. Some have warned to expect plenty of injuries once the games resume.
“The simple fact is that [players’] bodies are not used to tolerating the level of load that is going to be demanded of them when they go back,” former Liverpool Physio Andey Renshaw said in an interview with Goal.com last week.
“As a result of everything – the reduced strength, reduced endurance – the players’ proprioceptive levels are reduced as well, so you could well see an increase in the more serious kind of ligament injuries, including Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries,” he added.
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