Premier League clubs have been told to expect coronavirus test results back within 24 hours, meaning players will receive results quicker than key workers.
Following two months without any Premier League action, the top flight’s planned return is gathering pace with ‘Project Restart’.
The proposal involves games being played behind closed doors at neutral venues following a mini pre-season, with all players needing to be tested before being allowed to train together.
According to a report in the Telegraph, Premier League footballers are to start being tested for the coronavirus on Thursday, and can expect to receive their results within just 24 hours.
Essential workers, including NHS staff and social care workers, along with anyone aged over 65 with symptoms, are advised to wait between 48 and 72 hours for results from the government’s testing scheme.
However, Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, puts this down to the smaller sample of Premier League players in comparison to the vast numbers of key workers and vulnerable people.
“What this shows is that you can get relatively fast results for people if you have got the resources,” said Green.
“But there is also the question of scale. The number of essential workers and over 65s runs into the millions, while there are far fewer Premier League footballers to test.”
The Premier League has agreed a £4m deal with Prenetics – a biotechnology firm from Hong Kong – to provide testing for players and staff.
Tests will either take place at private locations or at clubs’ training grounds.
Once players have receive their coronavirus results, clubs can carry out further medical, ‘pre-season’ tests before individuals are able to return to training.
Training will initially consist of groups of five players and three members of staff. The pitches will be the only training ground facility used – players will arrive in their kit, and go straight from their car to the pitches.
Clubs and the Premier League have a meeting scheduled for Monday, where the medical logistics and protocols will be discussed.