Contact training gets thumbs up – but June 12 looks unlikely for Spurs v Man Utd

A return to action at Carrow Road has moved another step closer Picture: PA

A return to action at Carrow Road has moved another step closer Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Norwich City will vote on Wednesday on proposals to return to contact training - but the renewal of Premier League hostilities looks likely to be pushed back.

The government on Monday released its “phase two” guidance for athletes and elite sportsmen and women, but the June 12 target date for a return is beginning to look increasingly uncertain, with clubs insisting they need at least three weeks of full-contact training before they can play a competitive game.

ESPN say the Premier League wants to resume action with a Friday night game between Tottenham and Manchester United, but that June 19 or June 26 is a more likely start date.

The subject is likely to be discussed on Thursday, with Premier League chief executive Richard Masters indicating that “wider issues” will be looked at.

While the big return date is undecided, Monday’s government announcement meant the training issues moved on quickly.

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The new guidelines state that: “Stage Two training can be described as the resumption of close contact (interaction within the two-metre social distancing boundary) training where pairs, small groups and/or teams will be able to interact in much closer contact (eg, close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, technical equipment sharing, etc).”

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This new guidance marks the latest phase of a carefully phased return to training process for elite athletes, designed to limit the risk of injury and protect the health and safety of all involved.”

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Players and managers are to be consulted on the proposals on Tuesday ahead of the 20 clubs meeting.

Results of the third and latest round of Covid-19 testing, from Monday and Tuesday, will also be published on Wednesday.

Government guidelines on contact training stress the need for “meticulous, time and date sensitive, written records of player groups and interactions” to be kept to enable effective tracing should an individual test positive. It is anticipated clubs will gradually build up the level of contact, from ‘clusters’ of two to three players initially, through larger groups of four to 12 before a return.

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