EPL clubs split ahead of restart meeting

How the Premier League can restart should become clearer in the coming days, with British PM Boris Johnson saying sports can resume if only members of your own household are playing.

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 - Socceroos Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy included - 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".

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.

Brighton's announcement on Sunday that an unnamed player had contracted COVID-19 even before the reintroduction of group training reinforces how the disease is spreading.

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, the club said. Brighton said three players have now had the coronavirus, having announced the first diagnosis in March.

"One of the things we've asked the Premier League for is a complete plan of all of the stages of returning to play," Barber told broadcaster Sky Sports on Sunday.

"First we need to get players back training in small groups, then they need to get involved in some contact training and then training for a match before the match itself."

Brighton are only two points clear of the relegation zone with nine games remaining so do not want to lose home advantage for five of those fixtures, which include against leaders Liverpool and defending champions Manchester City.

"People will accuse us of self-interest, I totally understand that, but at this stage of the season there is self-interest at every level of the table," Barber said.