Premiership clubs have been handed the ground rules for a return to training in the first step to resuming the suspended 2019-20 season.
The 2019-20 Premiership season was suspended indefinitely in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As with other leagues around the world, training facilities were closed and players instructed to train in isolation at home.
However, the UK government has laid down the rules for clubs to return to training, raising the hope that the remaining 57 matches in the season could still be completed.
‘I can confirm that the Professional Game Board, which incorporates representatives of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) Premiership Rugby, Rugby Players Association (RPA) and Championship Clubs, has given provisional authorisation for Premiership and Championship Rugby clubs to move to Stage 1: Elite Sport Return to Training Guidance,’ Chris Booy, Professional Game Board chair of the Premiership, said.
‘The clubs will need to satisfy a number of requirements to start Stage 1 as we continue the huge amount of work being undertaken to enable a safe return to training.
‘The welfare of the players, management and staff is our only priority, and we look forward to the season resuming when it is safe to do so.’
Before starting stage 1 – which allows for individual conditioning or groups of individual conditioning in a high-performance environment with strict social distancing – clubs need to provide a written declaration to both Premiership Rugby and the England RFU that they have met a number of key criteria.
- All players and support staff must undertake an Education Module which will inform a formal ‘opt-in’ process for return to training.
- Confirmation of the appointment of both a Covid-19 manager and Covid-19 medical lead.
- Clear guidance regarding cleaning and hygiene standards for training facilities.
- The provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for the setting.
- Confirmation of daily medical screening for players and support staff, which involves the completion of a symptom checklist and temperature check before entering the training facility.
No timescale has been set for clubs to move to stages 2 or 3 which involves the safe return of Premiership rugby.
Photo: Getty Images