Leicester City were one of a number of English Premier League clubs that started group training on Wednesday, as soccer in England took a step closer to resuming matches. This follows the suspension of football due the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday the Premier League voted to allow clubs to begin small group, non-contact training. The league will decide early next week when to allow contact training. It wants to restart the league in June after it was halted on March 13th.

Last week, Britain issued the first guidance for elite athletes about how they could safely restart training. British culture minister, Oliver Dowden said guidance about resuming full-contact training was due this week.

He hoped guidelines for resuming matches behind closed doors would follow. Dowden also set up a task force aimed at seeing how sport and arts could be restarted safely following the enforced cancellation of events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Premier League confirmed six people from three different clubs tested positive out of a sample of 748 individuals. Dowden says the tests were taken ahead of the return to small group training.

“As I’ve said several times before, I’m really keen that if we can get the Premier League back behind closed doors, we should do that. The process for doing this is really three-fold. So, first of all, we’ve already issued the guidelines for carrying out training behind closed doors. That’s non-contact training. Those guidelines have already been published earlier this week. I hope – subject to the sign off by Public Health England and others – we will then later this week, very shortly, get guidance about how we can have training in a contact environment. This is for elite sports, so they can start to build-up. The final stage will then be the guidelines as to whether they can resume behind closed doors. In doing that, we’ve been guided by health advice. I can update you again today for the fourth time. There were meetings between elite sports and Public Health England to find out how we can do it safely. If we can do it safely, I’d like us to be up and running towards mid-June, if that’s possible,” says Dowden.

Last Saturday, Germany’s top-flight became the first major European league to return to action. This has given hope to most leagues around the world.

‘Current season can be completed’  

Back home, Mamelodi Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane says he hopes authorities will soon allow small group training after weeks of inactivity.

“Let’s look at what the world is doing. You can’t just come and bring everybody in because we have to change Germany has been successful now, for now, England has got some rebounds now. I don’t know what’s happening in China, because I don’t get so much information on that so you don’t know. Just follow, copy good thing. Let’s be honest. Let’s copy good things and Spain, which was highly affected by COVID-19, there’s Barca training now in small groups. So probably, we would be going also to small groups of training because they’ve allowed jogging, you know what I am trying to say,” says Mosimane.

Mosimane believes the current season can easily be completed in just four weeks.

“Yes, we can complete if we play weekend, Wednesday, weekend. You have already done three days in one week. So, you can see that a month is enough, and the semi-finals and the final of the Nedbank also is two games. Remember, we can have it from Saturday to Saturday. It’s seven days so we can complete,” explains Mosimane.

Sundown coach Mosimane says he is intent on leaving a legacy behind:

The SAFA/PSL joint liaison committee met last week to look at the possibilities of resuming professional football in the country.

A six-member committee was appointed and tasked to submit a detailed proposal to the government.