Project restart hangs in balance as six Premier League players and assistant manager test positive to coronavirus.
The Premier League’s hopes of restarting the season in three weeks’ time have taken a blow after six positive Covid-19 cases were found in the first round of testing.
Each club conducted their own testing over the weekend, with 728 tests carried out between players and staff. Of those tested, six were found to be positive and they have been asked to self-isolate for a period of seven days.
The Premier League has refused to confirm the names of those who have tested positive and it’s unclear if the six are players or staff members.
‘The Premier League can today confirm that, on Sunday 17 May and Monday 18 May, 748 players and club staff were tested for Covid-19,’ a statement read.
‘Of these, six have tested positive from three clubs. Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.
‘The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and oversight.
‘No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the Premier League due to legal and operational requirements.’
Burnley, meanwhile confirmed assistant manager Ian Woan tested positive for coronavirus.
The Clarets’ first-team squad and staff were all tested for Covid-19 at the weekend, before a return to training.
Burnley say former midfielder Woan, 52, is “asymptomatic” and will now self-isolate for seven days.
The news comes as a blow to the Premier League’s hopes of resuming the season, particularly against a backdrop in the United Kingdom where cases and deaths are far higher than in other European countries.
Premier League clubs are set to resume training this week but against a set of strict restrictions that limit sessions to 75 minutes.
Clubs have taken their own measures to ensure the safety of their employees, including spreading out arrival times, asking players to arrive in their training kit and limiting training groups to five.
The Bundesliga became the first league to resume last weekend and the world of sport is keeping a keen eye on Germany to see how the situation develops. Substitutes were asked to social distance and to wear masks, while players on the field could not celebrate together or shake hands afterwards.