Saturday, 30 May, 2020

Coronavirus: Premier League clubs face second round of testing on Friday

Fans inside Liverpool's Anfield stadium in March 2020 Chairman delivers claim that’ll excite Liverpool fans
Cary Erickson | 23 May, 2020, 11:44

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (2nd R) prepares to use his substitute players Sergio Aguero (C) and Phil Foden (3rd R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on 26 October 2019.

Premier League chief executive Richards Masters says that the organisation is "as confident as we can be" about restarting the league in June.

Liverpool, who have a 25-point lead at the top of the table, needed only two more wins to mathematically guarantee themselves a first league title for 30 years.

June 12 has been earmarked as a potential date to begin football once again and Masters believes it's not overly optimistic to suggest that date, with clubs voting on Monday in favour of stepping up training with larger groups of players. "It's great for everybody, including the fans, to see our players back on the training ground", Masters told BBC Sport on Friday.

Masters said a trophy presentation would be organised when the title is won, provided the Premier League could facilitate the handover.

Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and two members of the club's staff tested positive for the coronavirus, while Hornets captain Troy Deeney refused to train because of fears over his family's health.

"We wouldn't have taken the first step to get back to training if we weren't convinced we had created a very safe environment for our players".

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"If it was starting tomorrow training 11 v 11 with contact, with everybody at the training ground, I would not go that's for sure", he said.

Questioned on whether he would agree to train, Masters said: "I think I would".

The Premier League revealed on Tuesday there were six positive tests for coronavirus from three clubs across a total of 748 tests after the first phase of mass testing.

"We're talking to the authorities about that", he said.

"Most importantly, if the scientists and the government feel it's unsafe there will be no football, but hopefully we can figure out a way to give people some enjoyment".

"We've put in place testing programmes and all of the different protocols in order to protect you and your livelihood, and we think it's safe to return".