Premier League fans may not be able to return to stadiums for a year as football continues to battle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Top flight clubs have started to return to training this week as the league eye a restart to action in mid-June.
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Training will allow basic non-contact drills as individuals or groups of no more than five per pitch, with staggered arrival times and all equipment disinfected before and after use.
Players are also set to be tested on a regular basis.
The top-flight is hoping to restart on June 12 and will do so behind closed doors and quite possibly NOT at neutral stadiums.
It means fans will be able to watch some action again from their own sofas but they face a long wait to return to stadiums.
League medical chief Mark Gillett warned: “It’s very clear the public and social health situation is not going to change in the next six to 12 months.
“It is important that people understand that they will have to see these cultural changes.”
Rick Parry, chairman of the English Football League, has admitted he has no idea when fans will be able to return to stadiums to watch football.
“To give you an honest assessment of the current situation; the point at which you will be able to attend games again remains unclear,” Parry said in an open letter to fans.
“Please be assured, however, that we are going to welcome you back to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.
“The contribution to football’s finances made by match-going supporters should not be underestimated.
“It is critical to the business model of league football. Perhaps the biggest challenge right now is not knowing when we will be able to reintroduce football in front of crowds. We can only hope that the situation develops in such a way that we will be able to do that with the shortest possible break.”
Despite those fears, UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin is ‘absolutely sure’ fans will be back in stadiums ‘very soon’.
Ceferin told The Guardian: “It’s a serious situation but it is going down now and we are being more cautious.
“We know more about the virus and in general I’m an optimistic person.
“I don’t like this apocalyptic view that we have to wait for the second and third waves or even a fifth wave … people you know are likely to die one day, but do we have to be worried today? I don’t think so.
“We are ready and we will follow the recommendations of the authorities but I’m absolutely sure, personally, that good old football with fans will come back very soon.”