This is the strange new world awaiting Brighton players as training resumes Tuesday
Brighton and Premier League clubs will discuss contact training protocols next week before any season restart date can be agreed, the competition's chief executive Richard Masters said.
Step one of the return to training protocols were unanimously approved by clubs on Monday. At this stage, players must practise social distancing at all times.
Players and managers insisted adequate time must be factored in between the resumption of regular contact training and any season start date.
“A part of the job at the moment has been understanding what we’re permitted to do from a training perspective,” Albion head coach Graham Potter said.
“It’s not a football session as there’s no contact so it becomes a fitness session with a ball, but at least we’ll be able to interact in small groups.
“We have to adapt to do that and come up with useful preparation methods for when we do start to play football.
“At the same time, we have to make sure we build on the work the lads have been doing from a fitness perspective over these last few weeks and not undo any of that.”
Potter also said he was was keen to the first team group small as possible. The first step requires training to last for no more than 75 minutes for any single player, and with groups of a maximum of five players in each mini-session.
Players will be asked to leave three parking spaces between their vehicle and any other at the training ground, and arrive wearing kit. There will be no access to communal areas such as canteens.
All equipment will be disinfected by club staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and players must wear face coverings at all times.
An app will be used for players to provide daily updates on their condition.
“There is a certain number of people we can have at the moment in the initial stages," Potter said. "We’ll go through the protocols and make sure everyone can get used to the new ‘normal’.
“As I understand, at stages two and three of the protocols we have the possibility of that type of movement from outside of the first team group if we need it. That’s how we worked before the virus with members of the under-23 squad training with us.
“We don’t know the details yet; we need to know what those stages two and three look like in more detail to be sure.”
Masters says the widely reported start date of June 12 has only ever been a "staging post" and a more definitive restart date can be set only once contact training protocols have been approved.
"We know there's a discussion to be had," Masters said. "It really depends on when we can start full contact training and we have a process to go through before we can get to that stage. Of course we've got to be flexible.
"Next week we are going to be discussing full contact training protocols for that. Once you know when you can start full contact training, and we have had a proper discussion with clubs about how much is required to create the fitness levels before they can start playing, we are then in a position to be able to confirm when the season start is."
Testing for coronavirus at top-flight clubs has taken place over the last two days, and will continue throughout the training period and the return to match action in a bid to make the environment as safe as possible for all concerned.
Masters confirmed the results from the first round of testing, conducted on Sunday and Monday, would be back by 2pm on Tuesday.
There have been concerns raised by Premier League medics over their liability should any staff fall seriously ill, even with all the precautions that have been taken.
The league's director of football Richard Garlick said: "We have spoken to the insurers both in relation to the liability insurance for the clubs but also indemnity insurance for the doctors. It's in our protocols.
"They are content with them."
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