Premier League clubs are expected to give the go ahead to the introduction of phase two of training today Wednesday, prompting hopes that a date for the return to competition could be agreed by the end of the week.
The league has received government approval to progress to the next stage of Project Restart, enabling competitive and close-contact training, including tackling, in groups of up to 12 players.
Players and managers had the chance to discuss remaining concerns over phase two when they held separate video calls with the Premier League on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, clubs will then vote on whether to move to the next stage of training, which could be introduced at training grounds before the end of this week.
Several clubs have raised concerns over what will happen if a player tests positive, once full contact training is reintroduced.
In particular, there are worries over whether team-mates could also be isolated for up to two weeks, sending club and league planning into chaos.
With the majority of clubs likely to back the introduction of phase two, the week could end with the Premier League putting forward the final drafts of Project Restart – and a proposed fixture list, including the date when competitive action could resume.
June 19 has been one target date but some Premier League clubs are now pushing for a further week to prepare their squads, with a return on June 26.
A week of crucial meetings continues on Thursday when all other aspects of Project Restart will be discussed, including the league’s contingency plans on relegation, the issue of the use of points-per-game – and the award of the Premier League title, if the season has to be curtailed.
One proposal, first reported in the Daily Mail, to use ‘home/away and/or neutral venues’ will also be discussed at Thursday’s meeting.
The hybrid model would see the majority of games held at home grounds, while a handful of high-risk matches could be moved to neutral venues, to allay police fears and reduce the likelihood of large groups of fans congregating outside a stadium.
Premier League clubs will vote to begin contact training this week, believe Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp, after the government released guidance on how that could be done in a controlled way.
“It’s a huge week,” Redknapp told The Football Show. “With what’s happened in Germany, I’ve got no doubt the vote will go ahead and the clubs will vote to try to get phase two going, which is obviously important.
“I also think there’ll be a situation where more players will opt out, which is their prerogative, but with the success in Germany – it’s not been great, it’s not the product we really like, with no fans there, but at least it’s football – I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t go ahead.