Coronavirus: Swans and Bluebirds return to contact training – BBC News


Cardiff manager Neil Harris and Swansea head coach Steve Cooper are eyeing promotion to the Premier League for 2020-21

Cardiff City and Swansea City have returned to contact training ahead of the Championship’s return, which is scheduled for 20 June.

Players have been back in training since 25 May, but have so far only taken part in non-contact sessions.

The English Football League (EFL) has set out stringent protocols for clubs to follow as training resumes.

No Championship games have been played since 8 March, with the campaign suspended five days later.

There are 108 matches remaining, plus the play-off semi-finals and final.

Both Welsh clubs are in contention to make the play-offs.

A member of Cardiff’s staff is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19 in recent testing.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “The EFL have stated that football clubs should return to first team training when it’s safe to do so, based on medical and scientific advice.

“We are working alongside the EFL and the clubs to prioritise the health of players, coaches and staff.”

The Welsh Government previously confirmed professional sports in Wales can resume behind closed doors in line with the position in England.

On Saturday, 30 May the UK government gave the green light for domestic competitive sport to return from 1 June.

The English Football League (EFL) subsequently announced plans to resume the Championship on 20 June.

Horse racing and snooker were the first sports to resume in the UK.

When will other professional sides in Wales return?

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said in May he was not aiming to disadvantage professional Welsh teams involved in cross-border competitions.

Rugby’s Pro14 hopes to return to action on 22 August when teams from the same nation will play against each other before the season is concluded via semi-finals and a final.

But while clubs in the top two flights in English rugby have been told they can resume training on a non-contact, socially-distanced basis, no similar developments have been announced for Wales’ four professional regions.

There is currently no date for the the return of domestic cricket competition for Glamorgan with the England and Wales Cricket Board having extended their shutdown until at least 1 August.

The Welsh Government said on 21 May professional sportspeople in Wales could train while maintaining social distancing regulations.

The next review of lockdown measures on 18 June will include assessing “enabling non-professional elite athletes, including our Olympic athletes, to train safely”.

Acting Sport Wales chief executive Brian Davies has urged “patience and unity” among sports bodies as they wait any resumption.

The Welsh government will next review its lockdown measures on Thursday, 18 June.

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