Sportsmail can reveal that top flight clubs have been sent through ’emergency guidance’ which includes a host of new, stringent protocols, which have raised concerns among some.
Each club has been told that they should allow a compliance officer or match-day co-ordinator to enter dressing rooms on request to ensure anti-Covid rules are being adhered to.
Premier League teams will all be required to grant access to the dressing rooms on request for an official to make sure anti-Covid protocol is being observed by players and coaching staff
There are concerns the new protocol could bring the Premier League’s integrity into question (Pictured: Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham players in the dressing room in 2019-20 season)
A number of officials believe that could cause issues, with team news and tactical information potentially at a greater risk of being leaked, although Premier League officials are adamant that will not be the case, with inspectors avoiding times when confidential discussions are taking place.
In what represents a significant stepping up of action, triggered by the surge in cases and the arrival of the new variant of the disease, new, wide-ranging protocols have been distributed in what the league feels is a common-sense approach.
Players, managers and coaching staff have been told to ‘avoid handshakes and hugging’ – particularly with members of the opposition, with shirt-swapping banned, while clubs have been warned that the snoops squads will apply a ‘more robust policy to reporting any breaches’. Substitutes will have to wear face coverings unless they are warming up, along with physios and medical staff.
There is a feeling that the rules heighten the risk of team news and tactics being leaked out
Shirt-swapping with opposition has been banned as the League look to curb positive tests
‘I cannot imagine managers being too happy with having a stranger in the dressing room just as they are announcing their team and giving out instructions on the opposition,’ one insider explained.
‘We get why measures have to be stepped up but this feels a little unrealistic.’
A host of stringent measures have also been brought in for away trips. Clubs will have to allow snoop squads to inspect coaches, trains and planes, while they have also been advised that, if travelling by road, they should use three coaches to allow for social distancing onboard.
Staff from each transport company, be it coach drivers, cabin crew or ticket collectors, who are likely to come into contact with the travelling party will have to have returned a negative Covid test in the three days prior to the interaction.
Clubs will also be required to grant access to team coaches for checks on following the rules
PREMIER LEAGUE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS FOR 2020-21 SEASON
Round 1: Aug 31-Sep 6 – 1,605 tested, with three testing positive.
Round 2: Sep 7-13 – 2,131 tested, with four testing positive.
Round 3: Sep 14-20- 1,574 tested, with three testing positive.
Round 4: Sep 21-27 – 1,595 tested, with 10 testing positive.
Round 5: Sep 28-Oct 4 – 1,587 tested, with nine testing positive.
Round 6: Oct 5-11 – 1,128 tested, with five testing positive.
Round 7: Oct 12-18 – 1,575 tested, with eight testing positive.
Round 8: Oct 19-25 – 1,609 tested, with two testing positive.
Round 9: Oct 26-Nov 1 – 1,446 tested, with four testing positive.
Round 10: Nov 2-8 – 1,646 tested, with four testing positive.
Round 11: Nov 9-15 – 1,207 tested, with 16 testing positive.
Round 12: Nov 16-22 – 1,530 tested, with eight testing positive.
Round 13: Nov 23-29 – 1,381 tested, with 10 testing positive.
Round 14: Nov 30-Dec 6 – 1,483 tested, with 14 testing positive.
Round 15: Dec 7-13 – 1,549 tested, with six testing positive.
Round 16: Dec 14-20 – 1,569 tested, with seven testing positive
Round 17: Dec 21-27 – 1,479 tested, with 18 testing positive
Round 18: Dec 28-Jan 3 – 2,295 tested, with 40 testing positive
Clubs have been strongly urged to only use hotels where necessary.
Should they choose to do so, snoop squads should be given access at all times to all areas except bedrooms. Hotel employees will also have to have returned a negative test ahead of the visit.
Training ground canteens can only open the day before a match, with pre-prepared food permitted at other times, while masks should be used at all times other than when players are on the field or in the showers.