Monday May 18 2020
'Prem fans unlikely this year'

The Premier League’s medical advisor has admitted that social distancing is set to be the norm in football for ‘the next 6-12 months’.

The English top flight announced this afternoon its clubs could resume team training as of Wednesday, with a view to possibly starting up fixtures on June 12.

However, Mark Gillett warned games would be played behind closed doors like in Germany for the foreseeable future.

“They’ve made it very clear that the social situation, the public health situation is not going to change over the next six to 12 months,” he told BBC Sport.

“Regardless of the timing of this type of conversation, we’re going to be looking at making the same kind of cultural changes at training grounds and in footballers’ behaviours whether we have this conversation now or at any point this year. It is important that people understand that.”

League chief Richard Masters, meanwhile, stopped short of saying June 12 was a fixed date for its comeback but did express his optimism.

“12 June was a staging post; it wasn’t a firm commitment and what we don’t want to do is continue to move it around.

“We know there’s a discussion to be had. It really depends on when we can start full contact training and we have a process to go through before we can get to that stage. Of course we’ve got to be flexible.

“Clearly we cannot de-risk the entire thing. But I think what we have created is an extremely safe environment that is the first stage of a return to training.

“So hopefully we have reassured all players and managers on that basis.”

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