Premier League clubs to scale back Covid-19 emergency measures

Manchester City file photo
(Image credit: Zac Goodwin)

Premier League clubs have agreed to remove the requirement for face coverings in indoor areas and limits on treatment time from Friday as they scale back Covid-19 emergency measures.

The reduction in case numbers nationwide has prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to say all remaining Covid restrictions in England will be lifted by the end of the month, and the English top flight has in turn started to relax its protocols.

As well as the rules on face coverings and treatment times, the frequency of lateral flow testing has also been reduced.

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On December 14 the league announced tests would be conducted daily on training days as concerns rose about the highly transmissible Omicron variant, with players and club staff taking tests in their cars before entering training grounds.

Testing will revert to being twice-weekly from Monday, the league said, and it hopes to phase out all Covid-19 emergency measures by the end of the month.

It is a far cry from December 20, when clubs announced their intention to play on amid calls to suspend the season.

A week later, the league recorded its highest number of positive cases in any seven-day period, with 103 players and staff testing positive between December 20 and Boxing Day amid a raft of Covid-related postponements.

The return of crowds this season after almost an entire campaign behind closed doors in 2020-21 has been welcomed by clubs but it is understood there was a discussion among club representatives at a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday about the rise in disorder at matches this season.

There was an acknowledgement among clubs of the issue and the need for continued talks with the police on the best ways to tackle the problem.

The suspension of the 2019-20 season forced clubs to pay rebates to some broadcast partners but clubs were given a much brighter update on Thursday, and told that international deals are now worth more collectively than the domestic contracts.

It is understood the league will give away in the region of £1.6billion in the next commercial cycle – 2022-23 to 2024-25 – in solidarity payments and to other causes.

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