Sport

Six coronavirus cases across three EPL clubs as training resumes

Six coronavirus cases across three EPL clubs as training resumes

Manchester, England: The English Premier League’s first wave of mass coronavirus testing of players and staff found six people infected at three of the 19 clubs to conduct the checks.

Socially distant training sessions can now begin, without the involvement of the six people with Covid-19, who have to self-isolate for seven days.

The league is not identifying whether players or coaches tested positive from the tests on 748 people on Sunday and Monday.

“The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency,” the league said in a statement.

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Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk arrives at Melwood in Liverpool, north west England for a training session on May 19, 2020, as training resumes for the first time since the English Premiere League was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. / AFP / Paul ELLIS Image Credit: AFP

One of the 20 clubs in the league only started conducting tests on Tuesday. The results of those tests will be included in the figures from the second wave of checks being published on Saturday.

The competition has been suspended since March due to the pandemic. A relaxation of national lockdown regulations is only now allowing non-contact training to resume, with a maximum of five players working together for up to 75 minutes a day at training facilities.

While the top divisions in Belgium, France and the Netherlands have been curtailed, the Premier League has government backing to plan a return to action in June.

But the aim of restarting around June 12 looks hard to meet. Approval for contact training and games resuming rely on there being no new spike in Covid-19 cases in the country with the second highest known deaths from the disease after the United States.

Premier League clubs will hold a conference call next Tuesday to discuss the protocols needed for contact training, as social distancing is still urged in wider society.

Meanwhile, Manchester City’s appeal against a two-year ban from European football will be heard over three days in June, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Tuesday.

CAS set aside June 8-10 for the case. It is unclear if a hearing will be held by video link or in person at the court in Lausanne, Switzerland.

No timetable was set for a verdict but a ruling is needed before English teams enter next season’s Champions League draw. The draw in Monaco is scheduled for August 27 but could be pushed back because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Man City were banned by Uefa in February for “serious breaches” of financial monitoring rules and failing to cooperate with investigators. The English champions have been accused of deceiving Uefa in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

Announcing its verdict three months ago, Uefa said City was guilty of “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016.”

Uefa also fined Man City €30 million (Dh120.4 million) after an investigation that was sparked by leaks of internal club correspondence published in November 2018 by German magazine Der Spiegel.

City are in second place behind runaway leader Liverpool in the Premier League. If a ban by Uefa is upheld, the fifth-place team are likely to take City’s place in the next Champions League.

A subsequent appeal is also possible at Switzerland’s supreme court in Lausanne, but likely only on narrow procedural grounds.