One week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson cleared the Premier League to return to games in empty stadiums by June 1, all 20 clubs were given the green light to begin workouts in small groups.
When matches resume -- no official date has been agreed upon -- they will be played in empty stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic. The next round of talks focused on a return to competition will take place next Tuesday.
"Premier League Shareholders voted unanimously to return to small group training from (Tuesday) afternoon -- the first step towards restarting the Premier League, when safe to do so. Step One of the Return to Training Protocol enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing. Contact training is not yet permitted," the Premier League said in a statement on Monday.
"This first stage has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, Premier League club doctors, independent experts and the Government. Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure everyone returns to training in the safest environment possible. The health and well-being of all participants is the Premier League's priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process. Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA and LMA as protocols for full-contact training are developed."
Johnson announced May 11 he would permit "cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact."
Premier League play was suspended March 13 amid the pandemic.
Clubs have been unable to agree to a date to resume the 2020 season. The outlook for a return to action has been complicated by disagreements on many different topics related to restarting the season including location of games, safety issues and adopting a new protocol -- average points per game -- being adopted to decide reallocation.
On Saturday, the Bundesliga in Germany returned with a full schedule of games.
There are 92 games remaining in the Premier League season. Officials had targeted a June 8 return with games being held at neutral sites.
Liverpool is atop the standings with 82 points and is in line for its first title in 30 years.
--Field Level Media