The UK Government has warned Premier League clubs that players and coaches are not social distancing at water breaks or during goal celebrations, according to reports.
The introduction of water breaks came once Project Restart kicked off on June 17, with one occurring at the mid-point of each half, and which for some have also become de facto coaching sessions.
But, reports say all top-flight clubs were contacted individually this week by the Premier League via a letter to remind them to encourage their players to minimise unnecessary contact.
The 20 clubs were also warned they must change these habits or risk setting a poor example to the public.
The report claims the letter reminded clubs of players and coaches’ responsibility to maintain the agreed standards set out in the government’s original guidance for the return to competition in elite sport, particularly when interacting or celebrating a goal.
The Premier League was also obliged to ‘agree social distancing measures and protocols for staff, officials and players on the bench and/or field of play, to include: personal conduct during disputes between players or between players and referees; and scoring celebrations”.
The report adds that officials have been told to make special efforts to usher coaches off the pitch if they try to speak to players during the break, a task which has become increasingly difficult.
The letter to all top-flight clubs also warned of poor social distancing during goal celebrations.
The Premier League’s official line states the breaks have been brought in primarily to fulfil the protocols that require them to disinfect and spray balls, goal posts and corner flags.
Premier League and Football League players are currently being tested twice a week for coronavirus and the clubs have thus far been able to use specified measures taken at training grounds and stadiums to created a biosecure environment.
The 12th round of testing over Sunday and Monday in the Premier League saw a return of zero positive results from 1,973 players and staff.
The EFL also had no positive results from a test pool of 3,004 players and staff.