Premier League players should wear face masks when football’s lockdown is lifted, a medical expert has advised.
It has now been six weeks since a top-flight match was played, with the coronavirus crisis forcing sport to close its doors seemingly for the foreseeable future.
It has not yet been decided how the season will be concluded, if, or when, football is allowed to resume with the UK set for at least another three weeks in lockdown.
Premier League players have been advised to wear masks when football resumes
Serge Aurier is seen wearing a mask as he broke rules to train alongside Moussa Sissoko
There are plans for remaining games to be staged behind closed doors at neutral venues, and with players believed to be at an increased risk of contracting the virus, a top epidemiologist has warned they will most likely have to wear face masks in effort to limit the spread.
Dr Rowland Kao of the University of Edinburgh, as reported by The Sun, said: ‘Masks tend not to protect you but protect others.
‘They prevent aerosol spray but leaves open fomite transmission — putting your hand to your mouth or your face and then wiping it somewhere else, like a doorknob.
A fan is pictured wearing a face mask outside St James’ Park before the coronavirus lockdown
‘It’s unclear how much protection those masks would give but it would seem sensible to put as many precautions as you could in place.
‘If you have 300-500 people coming together (for a match behind closed doors), there’s an opportunity for multiple infections to occur.’
The Premier League are yet to address Dr Kao’s comments and will continue to follow the Government’s advice closely.
While football in Germany is set to return in May, much of Europe is still drawing up plans of action.
In Spain, there are proposals for the season to restart in June but players are concerned they will catch coronavirus if they start playing matches again.
Premier League doctors are coming up with plans for players to return safely to training
World players’ union FIFPRO have been in talks with the World Health Organisation over safety protocols ahead of football’s return.
Dr Kao added that players taking part in training sessions and behind-closed-door matches should be routinely tested, which has also been put forward by Premier League doctors.
A dossier will be presented to club officials for consideration at the next shareholders’ meeting a week on Friday.
Other recommendations include staggered training times, players being made to eat alone and no use of communal showers.