PREMIER LEAGUE stars are to be kept apart until May 1 — at the earliest.
The top flight is now in lockdown with clubs sorting fitness programmes that could see them make a full-on return to training SIX WEEKS from now.
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Elite clubs do not expect to play again until at least June 1 because of the coronavirus crisis despite action being suspended until April 30.
The newly-planned timetable would then see players given a ‘pre-season’ of a month before an intense programme of matches.
Sheffield United were the final club to stop training after their players arrived for work yesterday — they even played a closed-door game last week — to find they too had to go home.
The Blades — like most clubs — have told their squads and staff to stay away for at least an initial fortnight before further assessments are made.
They could then go back but in small groups at staged times of the day ahead of going back to their normal routine from May 1.
A jam-packed fixture schedule would almost certainly take place behind closed doors with discussions ongoing over whether to use neutral venues.
Clubs would then have six to seven weeks to finish the season going into July even with an ‘express’ plan to finish this season.
The FA also agreed that the season can be “extended indefinitely”.
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PFA deputy Bobby Barnes said: “I’ve been speaking to players and the conversations I had with them were based around not wanting to play behind closed doors if at all possible.
“But the reality for the vast majority of the players is their income is funded by TV money and their contracts have to be adhered to.
“If it means playing behind closed doors in order that contracts are protected, fixtures fulfilled and commercial deals honoured, then we’ve all got to make sacrifices.”