Why Sheffield United and other Premier League clubs are studying a directive issued to their EFL counterparts

Top flight clubs including Sheffield United will closely study a directive received by their English Football League counterparts, advising them that a return to training should not happen until “25 May at the earliest.”

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 10:00 am
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: General view inside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Bramall Lane on February 22, 2020 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The command, issued by EFL officials last night, is at odds with the Premier League’s own ‘Project Restart’ guidelines which state group sessions could resume on Monday.

United partially reopened the doors of the Steelphalt Academy last month, with only a small number of personnel permitted to be on site at any one time and players forced to adhere to a series of strict rules relating to hygiene and social distancing.

Admitting further consultations are required with its own stakeholders before a definitive plan, outlining when the fixture suspension imposed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic can be lifted, an EFL spokesperson said: “However, until all outstanding matters are concluded, including finalising a comprehensive testing programme on matchdays and non-matchdays, the EFL Board has informed its clubs that a return to training should not take place until 25 May at the earliest.

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“Dialogue continues with our colleagues across the footballing and political landscape regarding these and other issues, and the EFL is committed to keeping all relevant parties updated on key decisions and developments as they occur."

United’s players have been involved in their own discussions with the Professional Footballers’ Association about the prospect of completing the 2019/20 campaign this week. The PFA, which has canvassed opinion among all its members, will present those findings to the PL on Monday.