Athletes Given Post-Lockdown Training Guidance

The government has published new guidelines for elite athletes returning to contact training - when individual sports deem it safe to do so.

The government advises beginning with clusters of two or three athletes, then progressing to larger groups of four to 12 and ultimately full team training.

It is up to individual sports to assess the risk and consult athletes, coaches and support staff.

The Premier League will discuss the guidance at a meeting on Wednesday.

Clubs in England's top flight returned to 'phase one' non-contact training on 19 May.

Contact training is phase two in a three-stage plan, with the final phase - the resumption of sport behind closed doors - expected to begin in June.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: "This new guidance marks the latest phase of a carefully phased return to training process for elite athletes, designed to limit the risk of injury and protect the health and safety of all involved.

"We are absolutely clear that individual sports must review whether they have the appropriate carefully controlled medical conditions in place before they can proceed, and secure the confidence of athletes, coaches and support staff."

Current social-distancing rules will apply at all times other than during technical training, and equipment-sharing will be avoided where possible.

Football is the only major team sport to recommence training so far, with the English Football League joining the Premier League in returning on Monday.

It was announced on Thursday that rugby union's Premiership clubs would not begin training for at least two weeks, while England's men have begun a phased return to cricket training ahead of a proposed restart of action in England and Wales on 1 July.