EFL update on Covid-19 testing and return to training

The EFL has provided its clubs with updated and finalised Return to Training Protocols (RTT) ahead of the planned resumption of tailored training on Monday, 25 May, for Championship clubs, and moved to clarify the League’s approach to the testing of players and subsequent reporting. The EFL has commissioned Nationwide Pathology to support the testing of EFL players and staff as part of the first phase of its RTT protocols. Initial testing for players, coaching and backroom staff in the EFL Championship commenced yesterday, Thursday 21 May, and continued throughout today, Friday 22 May 2020.

There will be a flexible approach to testing, with a combination of procedures conducted by independent testers, club medical staff and some self-testing as required. The accuracy of these tests is aligned with Government guidelines and, for the avoidance of any doubt, availability to clubs will not impact NHS testing resources or prevent other individuals from receiving a test as required.
The EFL will announce the following data at the end of the initial testing phase:
• the number of tests undertaken
• the number of positive cases (if any)
This first collection of data from the initial testing phase is unlikely to be available until Sunday, 24 May, and the EFL will publicly advise if any earlier. The EFL will not be releasing individual club data. The health, wellbeing and safety of EFL players, managers and staff has been at the forefront of discussions, scenario planning and decision making throughout this process and all parties will continue to consult with medical experts to ensure this is maintained as circumstances evolve.
There is currently no testing programme under way with clubs in League One and League Two.  As a result, small group training is not permitted to commence but, if required, clubs in League One and League Two can make their training ground pitches available for individual socially-distanced training sessions, adhering to all the relevant Government guidance and RTT protocols. The provisions are in place with Nationwide Pathology to extend the testing programme into League One and League Two as required, depending on the final outcome of the season curtailment discussions.
In respect of the RTT, the EFL has taken the decision today to publish the protocols in order to provide clarity and transparency on what is required and what is expected for all relevant stakeholders and particularly to aid understanding of the challenges amongst supporters. These are available here.
The protocols identify the relevant Policies and Procedures in respect of:
• Arrival and preparation for players and staff attending a training ground environment
• Training procedures
• Warm-Down and Injury Prevention Programmes
• Exiting the training ground
• Personal Protective Equipment
• Training Ground Hygiene Protocol
• Media arrangements