Coronavirus wrap: Premier League testing boost as Djokovic shares US Open doubts

The Premier League announced there were no positive results from the latest round of tests while world number one Novak Djokovic has cast further doubt on tennis’ US Open going ahead later in the summer.

A total of 1,195 players and club staff were tested in the Premier League’s sixth screening session, which took place on Thursday and Friday, and that yielded the second all-clear.

“The Premier League can confirm that on Thursday 4 June and Friday 5 June, 1,195 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive,” the league said in a statement.

Karren Brady file photo
Karren Brady has revealed how stadiums will be divided into three zones (PA)

There were six positive cases from three clubs in round one, two from two clubs in round two, a further four from two clubs in round three, none from round four and one from round five.

That means there have been a total of 13 positives from 6,274 tests administered and testing will continue on a twice-weekly basis.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged of matchday protocols ahead of the scheduled Premier League restart of June 17.

Premier League stadiums will be divided into three zones when the season restarts, with West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady revealing how stadiums will be split into red, amber and green zones.

“We are now in the process of agreeing the matchday protocols, which will include everything from zoning the stadium into red, amber and green zones,” Brady said in her column in the Sun.

“Red zone will be the most severely restricted area, including the pitch, the tunnel, technical areas, changing rooms will be limited to 105 people maximum, to include players, coaching staff, match officials and all the essential staff only.

“And only those who have tested negative for Covid-19 in the past five days can enter this area.

“We will be creating a Clinical Passport System for those who will need to have access to the red zone.

  • Red Zone - Limited to 105 people at the heart of the action including the pitch and dressing rooms
  • Amber Zone - All interior areas of the stadium, including press facilities. All people must have temperature check before entering.
  • Green Zone - Outdoor areas including stadium car parks.

“The amber zone will be restricted to the minimum number of staff required to meet contractual requirements for broadcasting, media and club staff.

“This area includes all interior areas within the stadium and anyone entering this area will be subject to a temperature check and a health questionnaire.

“And the green zone is the stadium exterior, e.g. car parking.”

Djokovic dealt a further blow to the hopes of the US Open going ahead after claiming it would be “impossible” to play under the “extreme” proposed safety protocols.

The hard-court grand slam is due to begin at Flushing Meadows in New York on August 31, but there are serious doubts over the tournament due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

“I had a telephone conversation with the leaders of world tennis, there were talks about the continuation of the season, mostly about the US Open due in late August, but it is not known whether it will be held,” the Serbian told Prva TV television.

“The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme.

“We would not have access to Manhattan, we would have to sleep in hotels at the airport, to be tested twice or three times per week.

“Also, we could bring one person to the club which is really impossible. I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for the prospect of salary and transfer fee caps to be discussed at all levels of the game.

The coronavirus crisis has had a big financial impact across the sport and the global governing body hopes to finalise plans for a relief package at its next Council meeting later this month.

Infantino has encouraged discussions on financial reform
Infantino has encouraged discussions on financial reform (Joe Giddens/PA)

The pandemic and its effects has led to calls for financial reform across a cash-rich industry and Infantino has encouraged discussions on the matter.

“On the financial and governance aspects, I also heard some interesting proposals on a wide range of topics,” he wrote in an open letter to FIFA’s members.

“From salary caps to transfer fee caps or other taxation mechanisms, to the possible obligation for governing bodies, competition organisers and clubs to build reserves or to contribute to a reserve fund which can be of assistance in hours of need such as now.

FIFA President: Shape a better football – https://t.co/sool5M7508https://t.co/2LvbPs64Kv

— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) June 6, 2020

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes believes the women’s game will become stronger after the pandemic. The Blues were awarded the title on Friday after the season was ended using a points-per-game system.

“With it comes new opportunities. We’ll roll with the new normals and I’m excited for what that might bring,” she said, with the WSL aiming to return over the weekend of September 5 and 6.

“It might bring more broadcast opportunities which, for our game, is another step.

“The next one is a constant layering of building on what we’ve done. I feel really optimistic and excited for the future.”

BT Murrayfield could be used for multiple sports in Scotland
BT Murrayfield could be used for multiple sports in Scotland (Lenny Warren/PA)

Using BT Murrayfield for a number of sports makes perfect sense to Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch.

Leitch believes some grounds could be up to a quarter full when crowds are initially allowed back into sports events.

The Scottish Rugby Union has held talks with the likes of Hearts and Hibernian over using its home when football returns from the coronavirus lockdown.

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