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Brighton player tests positive, EPL clubs split on restart

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PA Wire

FILE - This Jan, 18, 2020 file photo shows a general view of the club crest on the side of the AMEX Stadium, home to Brighton & Hove Albion, Brighton, England. A Brighton player tested positive for the coronavirus as Premier League clubs prepare for talks on Monday, May 11 about how to resume the competition during the pandemic. The southern England club told The Associated Press there is no need for other members of the squad or coaches to self-isolate because players have only worked in isolation when at the training base. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP, file)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says sports can resume — if only members of your own household are playing. How the Premier League can restart should become clearer in the coming days.

Any restart during the coronavirus pandemic is not just reliant on the government, which is planning Tuesday to outline the path to group training by sports teams being allowed again.

The 20 Premier League clubs head into their latest conference call on Monday split over a plan to use neutral stadiums to complete the season that was halted in March.

As clubs try to create safe conditions for training and games, the risks of players gathering again have been underscored by a Brighton player testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said the case was “a concern,” with players still only training individually at the south-coast club.

If games can resume as the league hopes by mid-June, there will not be any fans allowed inside stadiums, with forms of social distancing maintained even as some of the national lockdown restrictions are eased.

While making no mention of the return of professional sports in his Downing Street speech on Sunday, Johnson told Britons they can “play sports but only with members of your own household.” That includes golf courses and tennis courts in England being allowed to reopen from Wednesday.

The government, however, said last week it wants to see the return of the Premier League to “lift the spirits of the nation” when it is safe.

But at least six clubs, according to Watford, are insistent on being allowed to play at home despite police saying that is not feasible.