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Arsenal to reopen their training ground this week

Move comes 1½ months after manager Arteta tested positive for Covid-19

Arsenal will reopen their London Colney training ground to their players this week for individual training, but the English Premier League club will continue to observe social distancing rules amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Football in England was suspended indefinitely last month due to the virus and no clubs have been formally training.

"Players will be permitted access to the Colney grounds next week," Arsenal said in a statement last Saturday.

"Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times. All Colney buildings remain closed.

"Players will travel alone, do their individual workout and return home," the club added.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was diagnosed with the coronavirus on March 12, which led to the EPL postponing the next round of matches and none have been played since.

Arsenal spoke to all their players after Alexandre Lacazette, David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe and Granit Xhaka were photographed allegedly breaking social distancing guidelines, reported Reuters.

The Daily Mirror reported that one reason Arsenal have decided to reopen London Colney is the fact that many of their star players live in north London and the club fears players would be inundated with selfie requests should they run nearby their houses.

Accepting any request for photographs could breach social distancing protocol.

The newspaper also reported that each player will have his own set of footballs for safety reasons. However, training will be focused on the physical side of things rather than the football side of it.

They added that fitness and conditioning coach Shad Forsythe will take sessions with club doctor Gary O'Driscoll present.

Goal.com, meanwhile, reported that a maximum of five players will be allowed at London Colney at any time.

RESUME TRAINING

EPL clubs have been working on the basis that the earliest they may be allowed to resume training would be in early May. The British government is expected to review current lockdown restrictions on May 7.

Manchester United's assistant coach Kieran McKenna said: "At the moment, we are working towards, touch wood, the lockdown loosening after the next deadline and being able to return to some sort of training."

Should teams be allowed to train, it is expected they would need two to three weeks to get prepared to play competitive matches, making the earliest possible return in June.

But with the ban on mass public gatherings likely to be one of the last restrictions to be lifted, rescheduled games will almost certainly be held behind closed doors.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has been liaising with a number of sports bodies, led by the England and Wales Cricket Board on how things might work should the green light be given by the medical experts for sport to resume safely.

The Football League which organises the three divisions below the EPL, last Saturday highlighted testing of players and others involved in games as the key issue.

"Clearly, before any return to football can take place, suitable testing arrangements for participants must be in place and this is core to our current planning, as is ensuring there is absolutely no negative impact on the country's frontline workers, the emergency services, league and club staff members," the league said in a statement.

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