Premier League: Will top-flight clubs play friendlies before season restarts?
The Premier League season has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. But clubs have since returned to training and plans are in place to restart the campaign from June 17.
The planned restart received a further boost last week when the latest batch of coronavirus tests produced no positive results.
"The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1,130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive," the league said in a statement.
"The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency.
"No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing."
Will Premier League clubs play friendlies before season restarts?
According to the Telegraph, the Premier League has granted clubs permission to play friendly games.
However, any friendlies that take place must follow strict guidelines.
These measures include:
- Clubs are not allowed to travel for more than 90 minutes
- All players must travel in their own cars, possibly in their kits
- No official referees will be allowed, with members of coaching staff taking charge
- Full risk-assessments of the stadium or training ground before games
Premier League clubs were cleared to resume contact training last month.
Many teams are now expected to organise friendly matches as they prepare for a return to competitive action.
Liverpool, Southampton and Sheffield United are among those to have staged internal 11-a-side matches.
Blades midfielder Ben Osborn said: "I think they might be trying to (get friendlies), if it gets passed by the Premier League or Government.
"But at the moment we're just gearing up the minutes.
"It was 50 minutes the other day, 70 minutes today and next week we'll have a couple more games to try and get that intensity back, trying to get the fitness back."
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers also says he intends to run practice matches at the King Power Stadium.
"We’ll look at trying to prepare as best we can for that," Rodgers said.
"We’ll have some practice games in our own stadium before we play, so they’ll feel and get a sense of that.
"The game is not the same. It’s absolutely not. It can’t be. However, it’s what we have to do. The intensity and commitment of the players will still be there.
"We’d obviously love our supporters to be there but there won’t be any. However, we’ll have a cause we’ll be fighting for.
"They may not be with us in the stadium but there’ll be millions of people watching, thousands of Leicester City supporters around the world watching, so we have a duty for them to do the best we can, whether the stadium is full or whether it was empty, and that will be our focus."
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