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Premier League players returning to the pitch

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Liverpool’s Anfield gate remains locked as the club is on the cusp of their first title in 30 years. AFP

Premier League players returning to the pitch

West ham, Brighton and Arsenal opened their training grounds to players on Monday as Premier League clubs took steps towards a potential re-start.

The English top-flight is reportedly eyeing a resumption of the season on June 8 behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Project Restart’ could see the 20 Premier League clubs resume full training by May 18, allowing players a three-week pre-season.

Premier League chiefs, due to meet with sides on Friday, are committed to finishing the season, with Liverpool on the brink of their first English top-flight title in 30 years.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he has spoken to clubs about re-starting the Premier League “as soon as possible”.

“I personally have been in talks with the Premier League with a view to getting football up and running as soon as possible in order to support the whole football community,” Dowden said during a parliamentary questions session for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“But, of course, any such moves would have to be consistent with public health guidance.”

Brighton said in a statement on Monday that the club is allowing “restricted external access to the training pitches for first-team players only, for non-compulsory individual training”.

“Players will need to book and be allotted staggered arrival slots, allocated their own area to train and are expected to fully adhere to social distancing rules while doing so,” the statement added.

A West Ham spokesman said players living in apartments or without safe access to green spaces were permitted access to training pitches.

“Access will be limited to one player at a time and all sessions will be in line with government guidelines around social distancing,” he said.

An Arsenal club spokesman confirmed on Saturday players would be allowed to return this week but access would be carefully managed.

It was unclear whether manager Mikel Arteta, who tested positive for the virus last month but has since recovered, was present on Monday.

Tottenham also announced they would reopen some facilities from Tuesday, with a limited amount of pitches available for players to use in individual sessions.

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