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Premier League clubs may expand their Covid-19 testing programme to include academy players

The Premier League are considering expanding their Covid-19 testing programme to include academy players for the first time amid concerns about the virus spreading among youth-team players.

The Premier League’s under-18 league returned last weekend after a month-long break, but only three matches were played following a mass of postponements due to the virus.

A number of clubs are testing academy players regularly, but there is no centralised programme such as that running at senior level which sees all first-team players tested twice-a-week.

The Premier League are considering expanding Covid-19 testing to include academy players

The Premier League are considering expanding Covid-19 testing to include academy players

The Premier League are considering expanding Covid-19 testing to include academy players

In an indication of the growing concerns about the virus spreading at youth level, Chelsea closed their academy training last week following several positive tests — all players and members of staff were told to isolate for 10 days.

Whilst most clubs are keeping their academy players away from their first-team squads to reduce the risk of transmission, there are still fears about the virus spreading, which the introduction of regular testing could reduce.

A particular issue at academy level is that many youngsters are travelling to training on public transport, making them more vulnerable to infection.

The concerns come after Chelsea closed their academy training last week due to Covid-19

The concerns come after Chelsea closed their academy training last week due to Covid-19

The concerns come after Chelsea closed their academy training last week due to Covid-19

A number of clubs are testing academy players, but there is no centralised programme

A number of clubs are testing academy players, but there is no centralised programme

A number of clubs are testing academy players, but there is no centralised programme

The Premier League’s under-23 and under-18 competitions were curtailed last year during the first national lockdown, but the Government have included male academy football in their elite sport exemption this season and the clubs are eager to keep going.

The Government’s decision to abolish so-called air corridors, which has effectively led to the introduction of a travel ban, has also led to concerns at several clubs about overseas youngsters getting stuck in the country.

Sixteen new positive cases were reported among Premier League players and staff in the latest round of coronavirus testing, the league also announced on Monday.

The positives represent a drop of 20 compared to the last set of figures, and came from 3,115 players and staff who were tested between Monday and Sunday last week.

Source: Daily

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