Premier League Outlines Safety Measures Ahead Of Return To Play
The Premier League has provided a guide to the safety measures in place as it prepares for its return behind closed doors on Wednesday.
The league resumes on Wednesday 17th June, when Aston Villa take on Sheffield United at Villa Park, marking the first game since the postponement of all sport in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following an extensive period of testing, the Premier League will resume play following in the footsteps of Spain’s LaLiga and Germany’s Bundesliga which have already returned to competitive action.
The measures in place include the following:
– If there’s only one tunnel at the stadium, the away team’s players will enter the pitch first, followed by the home team
– When they line up for the Premier League anthem, players will now stand in a staggered formation
– Handshakes between the two teams will no longer happen
– Benches will be expanded to enable social-distancing. This includes using seats next to the bench or reallocating seats to provide the required distance
– Those in the technical area must maintain social-distancing, with zones marked out to guide them
– There are no ball assistants in behind-closed-doors matches, so if a match ball goes into the stands, the referee will decide if it can be retrieved without a noticeable delay
– If not, the referee will allow players to use spare balls placed around the pitch
– If a player needs treatment on the pitch, any club staff performing physiotherapy or soft-tissue treatment must wear the appropriate PPE
– A paramedic crew of two people will be in the Red Zone and clubs should name two members of Red Zone staff to act as stretcher bearers
– The referee will signal for drinks breaks to be taken midway through each half
– The breaks should last no longer than a minute, with players drinking from their own bottles. The time taken for the break will be added to the end of the half
– Managers can now make use of five substitutes during a match
– Teams can now have nine players on the bench, but the manager can only make substitutions on three occasions, not including at half-time
– Only three substitutes from one team are allowed to warm up at one time
Despite the drop in the number of cases of infection across the country, there are still worries of the continued spread of the virus among fans who may head to stadiums despite games being played behind closed doors.
In a video interview for the Premier League with former Arsenal striker, Ian Wright the Government’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam explained how fans can support their clubs and communities urging them to watch the matches from the safety of their own homes to continue the fight against COVID-19.
In the interview, Prof Van-Tam stressed the importance of fans following the Premier League’s message that they watch from their own homes rather than congregate as perhaps they might have done before the pandemic.
“What people really can’t do is recreate the pub in their own living room,” he said.
“Those are just the wrong conditions of close contact in indoor environments that will spread the virus.
“We’re going to have to watch it in our own households with our own families. It’s the only safe way for now.”
And his message is simple: “Stay at home. Watch the game at home. Follow the rules.
“If we do that, then we’re going to drive down the infection rate even lower than it is now.
“And that is going to increase the chances that we can get back to enjoying football in the normal way, in the earliest possible time frame.”
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