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2019/20 Premier League
9 August 2019 – 25 July 2020
The Premier League is set to play friendly matches behind closed doors as they prepare for the resumption of the season.
This comes after Premier League
shareholders voted unanimously to resume contact training - marking another step towards restarting the competition.
Teams are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact since late last month.
However, the Premier League has indicated that players and club officials will continue to be tested for the coronavirus twice per week with competitive matches set to resume on June 17.
A statement read: "The Premier League’s priority is the health and wellbeing of all participants. Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week."
"Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA, LMA and the Government. Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season, when conditions allow."
On Wednesday 3 June, it was confirmed that 1197 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19 between Monday and Tuesday.
Of these, one has tested positive, and the individual who tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.
However, teams will continue to train and play friendly matches in order to ensure that players gain match fitness ahead of the league resumption.
West Ham United manager David Moyes revealed his squad will play friendly matches against available and suitable local opposition to help build fitness and hone match sharpness.
“Of course, we will be playing some friendlies. We’ll do everything we can to prepare for the return of the Premier League," Moyes said.
“If you consider this a sort of pre-season period, most teams would have had a few friendlies under their belts and one thing all the clubs are not going to get is a lot of game practice, so I think getting the opportunity to do that means we can play a couple of games behind closed doors.
“Of course, we’re not going to ask other teams to travel a long distance and we don’t intend to travel a long distance as we are all following the guidelines while we’re in a position where we don’t want anything to go wrong in the lead up to the restart of the Premier League.”
However, there are reportedly restrictions that have been put in place by the Premier League regarding friendly matches.
According to the Telegraph, clubs looking to play friendly matches are not allowed to travel more than 90 minutes from their home grounds.
Furthermore, players will have to travel to games in their own cars and coaching staff officiating matches instead of referees.
West Ham are reportedly planning a London double-header of friendly matches against their London rivals Arsenal and Crystal Palace.
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