The Premier League has been keeping a close eye on the league’s developments and how it made a return a reality over a month before anyone else.
League officials in England are desperate to get Project Restart underway following the Bundesliga’s successful return.
Bundesliga became the first major European league to return at the weekend after a two-month long hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak
The German FA have now laid out the blueprint on how to return to action after two months out, which saw small group sessions take place in early April before Bundesliga matches were back up and running 40 days later.
If the Premier League are looking to follow suit, they will need to follow the model laid out by the Bundesliga, after the managed to orchestrate a safe and successful return.
Bundesliga teams return to training in small groups (Premier League sides returned on May 19)
After 25 days of isolation, Bundesliga clubs were given the green light to return to training in groups of around five players, keeping to strict social distancing measures at all times.
The early start allowed teams to get ball rolling with regards to getting the league wrapped up by a proposed date of June 30, leaving 162 of the remaining fixtures to played out over a period of six weeks.
Bayern Munich players returned to training in groups of around five players on April 6
For the Premier League, Project Restart received a huge boost on Monday, May 18 when clubs unanimously agreed to return to non-contact training. While many teams such as Tottenham, West Ham and Arsenal made a return weeks before, the decision signalled the beginning of a return for all 20 sides in England’s top flight.
Speaking after clubs unanimously agreed a return to non-contact training from Tuesday, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters admitted that the intended date of a June 12 restart may well be delayed.
‘We have been focused on this staging post, it’s not a firm commitment, for June 12,’ he said. ‘So we haven’t changed the start date, we have to be flexible about it. What we don’t want to do is continually move that start date. So we haven’t changed it, we need to be flexible and acknowledge we are in a step by step process.’
Despite no date set in stone for the league’s return, Premier League sides returned to training on Tuesday, May 19 setting the restart wheels in motion.
Chelsea return to training after it’s revealed there are six coronavirus cases in Premier League
Video footage shows Tottenham training at their headquarters on Tuesday afternoon
Regular testing in Germany’s top two leagues (Premier League conduct first large batch testing on May 17)
While players in the Bundesliga were tested following their return to training earlier in the month, league officials started to roll out regular testing in Germany’s top two leagues from April 30.
The Bundesliga remained committed to testing every player at least once a week in a bid to reduce the virus’ spread while containing the threat of an outbreak among players and staff.
It didn’t come without its controversy, though, after Hertha Berlin star Salomon Kalou and his team-mates appeared to ignore strict hygiene rules while mocking positive tests in a video posted to Facebook by the former Chelsea forward.
Bundesliga officials started to roll out regular coronavirus testing from April 30
West Ham star Declan Rice (left) is tested for the virus in the club’s training ground car park
The Premier League appears to have a stronger grip on things, having conducted the first wave of testing on May 17 and 18, testing 748 players and staff around the league.
Players at Newcastle were spotted driving into the club’s training ground before making their way to makeshift testing stations immediately while West Ham players were seen having their temperatures taken before training.
Test results for Bundesliga players and staff revealed (Premier League announced test results on May 19)
While Kalou’s damning video nearly derailed any sort of a return, the German Football League (DFL) announced that there were 10 positive tests after the DFL claimed 1,724 tests for COVID-19 were carried out on players and staff.
For the Premier League, the news of test results was met with optimism after six members of staff across 19 clubs tested positive for coronavirus. The figures are broadly comparable to those in Germany.
Prenetics, the Hong Kong-based biotechnology company that is conducting the testing for the Premier League, claim the tests are 98.8 per cent accurate.
League officials revealed that 748 tests conducted during the opening round of screening, providing yet another boost for Project Restart.
Newcastle players drove directly towards makeshift testing stations at Darsley Park this week
In an indication of potential teething problems with the testing procedure, Sportsmail has learned that staff at several clubs were sent away from their training grounds without being tested due to a shortage of kits.
In another complication, some clubs did not use their full allocation of 40 kits, with 12 of the initial batch yet to be used. The Premier League will increase the allocation of kits to 50 for each club in the next round of testing, which will take place on Thursday and on Friday, with the results to be published on Saturday afternoon.
The Premier League were not given the identity of the staff or players who tested positive because of data protection issues, but Burnley broke ranks on Tuesday night by announcing that their assistant manager Ian Woan was one of the six positives, which were restricted to three clubs.
Watford confirmed reports on Tuesday night that one player and two members of staff have tested positive.
Burnley assistant Ian Woan was confirmed to have returned a positive test for COVID-19
Bundesliga clubs begin full-contact training (Premier League to return to full-contact training by June 20)
May 7 saw the Bundesliga return to full-contact training, which included practice matches in an attempt to get players back to some level of match fitness.
This came just a week before the Bundesliga made its grand return to our screens.
This meant that German sides had five weeks of training in groups of five or six before making the jump back to some form of normality.
With most Premier League sides only returning on Tuesday, a five week-period of training in small groups of five or six would take clubs through to June 20, allowing players to then take part in full-contact sessions.
This would mean a return date of June 12 would be highly unlikely after managers up and down the league expressed major concerns that they may not be able to get their squad’s fully fit in time.
First matches played in the Bundesliga (Premier League to return on June 28)
Since taking the first training session in groups of five, it took the Bundesliga 40 days to make a safe and successful return.
Using this blueprint, the Premier League would return a week or so after the first full-contact training sessions will have taken place, seeing the initial restart date of June 12 pushed back two weeks until June 28 – 40 days on from May 19.
With 92 games left to be played in total, the plan to stage three or four matches on most days at staggered kick-off times would see the Premier League finish in the space of 36 days after UEFA announced that domestic leagues must be finished by August 3 in order to finish the current Champions League and Europa League campaigns.
Clubs will likely have to play twice a week in order to complete the current campaign in this period, which will see matches played in midweek and at the weekend.
Should the Premier League follow the Bundesliga’s blueprint, action is set to return on June 28