1 May 2020 – Players are “scared” about the prospect of returning to action amid the coronavirus pandemic, says Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.
The Premier League is hoping to resume the season on 8 June, which would require players to be be back in full training by 18 May.
Top-flight clubs will meet later today (Friday, 1 May 2020) to discuss options for the restart.
“The majority of players are scared because they have children and families,” said 31-year-old Aguero.
Speaking to Argentine TV station El Chiringuito, the Argentina international Aguero added: “I’m scared, but I’m with my girlfriend here and I’m not going to be in contact with other people. I’m locked in my house and the only person I could infect is my girlfriend.
“They’re saying that there are people that have it and don’t have any symptoms but still infect you. That’s why I am here at home. Maybe I have the illness and I don’t even know.”
The Premier League has been suspended since 13 March because of coronavirus but all clubs remain committed to playing this season’s 92 remaining fixtures.
All games are expected to be held behind closed doors and the league is considering making some available on free-to-air TV.
Aguero said he and his team-mates, will be “quite nervous and extra careful” when they return to work.
“When one person is ill we will think ‘oh what’s happening here?'” he added. “I hope a vaccine will be found soon so that this all ends.”
If training is resumed before social distancing rules are relaxed, BBC Sport understands players will be tested for coronavirus twice a week and would be screened for symptoms every day.
All tests would be carried out by health professionals at a drive-through NHS testing facility that each club would have access to.
Training grounds will be optimised for social distancing and high hygiene levels. In addition:
- Players must arrive at training grounds in kit and wear masks at all times.
- They must not shower or eat on the premises. If clubs want to provide players with food, it must be delivered as a takeaway to players’ cars.
- Only essential medical treatment would be allowed, with all medical staff in full PPE.
- All meetings and reviews must take place virtually and off-site.
‘Farcical’ face mask proposals
Brighton striker Glenn Murray says some proposed protocols around the Premier League’s return to action, such as wearing face masks, are “farcical”.
“Face masks is going to be off-putting; it is not going to be natural. People will be ripping them off in games,” the 36-year-old said. “It is quite farcical.
“I understand why people are desperate to get football on. It has to be done in a sensible way and in the right time and in a way that is going to keep everyone safe.
“There will be ambulances at training and games. Is it fair to take those from the NHS? I don’t know.
“It is not just two squads, there is a lot more involved and it puts more people at risk.”
Arsenal, Brighton and West Ham have opened their training grounds to players for individual work.
“I understand the public is desperate to get football back,” said Murray. “But it is us that are going to be going out there and competing against other teams.
“We are not talking about guys in one community. We are talking about guys from all over the world who could be possibly carrying the disease. There are so many caveats.
“Everyone is in different situations. I have children at home. I wouldn’t want to jeopardise them. Some footballers have newly born children who might be more susceptible to getting the disease.
“Some are living with elderly parents. It is a really difficult situation to agree on.”