Premier League clubs have agreed unanimously to step up training and have agreed on medical protocols in a bid to shelter players from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Play has been put on hold in England's top flight since the middle of March due to the virus, which has officially infected nearly 250,000 people in the UK and has killed close to 35,000.
This agreement is seen as a big step towards the resumption of the league, with government officials hopeful that play might take place in the middle of June.
A statement from the League reads : “Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to return to small-group training from tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday), the first step towards restarting the Premier League, when safe to do so.
“Step One of the Return to Training Protocol enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing. Contact training is not yet permitted.
“This first stage has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, Premier League club doctors, independent experts and the Government.
“Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure everyone returns to training in the safest environment possible.
“The health and wellbeing of all participants is the Premier League’s priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process.
“Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA and LMA as protocols for full-contact training are developed.”
As of Tuesday, clubs will be able to begin training in groups providing a round of testing for Covid-19 proves negative.
There has been dissent from certain players, however, with Watford’s Troy Deeney acting as a spokesperson for those who are fearful of coming forward to voice their concerns for fear of criticism.
The striker explained on ITV ’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ : “There has been a lot of what I would class as simple questions that have not been answered.
“For example, you can talk about the BAME situation. Government guidelines are saying it is four times more likely for people of colour to get the illness and twice as likely to have lasting illnesses, but there is no extra screening and no additional checks being done on any players because it costs too much money.
“We see a lot about care workers and key workers not getting tested and people dying in nursing homes and things of that nature, yet we are expected to have just short of 3,500 tests per month as football players, and PPE for all the staff.
“How long will it be until that's the players' fault? ‘Look at these prima donna footballers that are getting all this preferential treatment when there's people dying on the street'.”
Meanwhile, clubs in Spain have begun group training once more while the Bundesliga got underway again after a two-month break last weekend.