Project Restart in limbo after call with Premier League captains

Project Restart in limbo after two hour call with Premier League captains – where Mark Noble and Troy Deeney were particularly vocal – with players near the top of the league said to be ‘more relaxed’ about hygiene concerns

  • Project Restart is in limbo following a meeting of Premier League captains 
  • West Ham’s Mark Noble and Watford’s Troy Deeney were vocal during the call
  • Players expressed fears for their safety ahead of planned return to training 
  • Players were divided over plans and protocols attached to Project Restart 
  • Those near the top of the league are ‘more relaxed’ over hygiene concerns 

Project Restart was in limbo again on Wednesday night after players and managers aired significant concerns over plans to recommence the season on June 12.

A meeting of Premier League captains – which started at 2pm and lasted for over two hours – saw players express major fears over their safety ahead of their planned return to training next week.

West Ham captain Mark Noble and Watford skipper Troy Deeney are understood to have been particularly vocal during the conference call. 

The Premier League’s Project Restart is in doubt after a conference call involving captains

Similarly, a meeting of top-flight managers, that started at 10am, ended without a total commitment from bosses that they were fully behind plans to restart the season.

In the captains conference call, players were said to be somewhat divided over plans and protocols attached to Project Restart as they all had an opportunity to have their say.

A medical officer from the Premier League and the Government were also on the call.

Watford striker Troy Deeney is understood to have been vocal during the conference call

Players towards the top of the league were said to be more relaxed with the hygiene protocols devised by the Premier League, but those towards the bottom are said to have expressed greater concerns.

The consensus among players is that the majority, but certainly not all, are prepared to return to small group training on Monday.

Sportsmail knows of a number of players, more so towards the bottom of the league, who have told their clubs they are very reluctant to report for training next week. That was relayed during Wednesday’s meeting.

But, significantly, captains made clear that the playing community still have several questions they want answering – namely what happens when phase two of training commences.

Players expressed fears over their safety ahead of their planned return to training next week

Phase one of training will see players split into groups of up to five whilst abiding by social distancing guidelines.

But phase two will see a return to contact training, in particular tackling. And on Wednesday players expressed concerns over the lack of clarity with regards to the second phase of training.

‘How can you guarantee a players safety if they are in constant contact with each other?,’ said one source.

Players were said to be somewhat divided over plans and protocols attached to Project Restart

There were also questions asked about how the Premier League and Government plan to deal with a second wave of the coronavirus, which is expected to hit the UK later this year.

The issue of the Covid-19 agreement forms that players will be asked to sign – exclusively revealed by Sportsmail last week – were also a bone of contention.

Players queried where it leaves them legally if they were to sign the forms, fearing they are tantamount to legal disclaimers.

Some top-flight clubs are keen to see Monday’s planned vote to decide whether to press ahead with Project Restart delayed as they wait on greater clarification.




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