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Premier League clubs agree on distancing rules

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

Premier League

Premier League clubs have agreed on the measures that will allow non-contact training sessions to resume this week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The protocols for socially distanced training in small groups were signed off by the clubs during a conference call following a government decision to ease lockdown restrictions in England.

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Contact training and matches have yet to be allowed by the government.

The Premier League season was suspended in March with Liverpool leading by 25 points with nine games remaining.

Coronavirus testing is due to take place twice each week at clubs on up to 40 players, coaches and support staff.

Belgian Soccer Clubs

Belgian soccer clubs have been allowed the possibility to designate three teams they don’t want to host in empty stadiums next season.

The league says it will try to accommodate the club’s wishes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure could be used by clubs to avoid playing famous clubs or bitter rivals in front of empty stands for matches that usually draw many fans and generate big ticketing revenue.

All sporting competitions in Belgium will remain suspended until July 31 because of the health situation and all mass events have been banned until Aug. 31. The first round of soccer matches for next season will likely be played without fans when the league resumes on Aug. 7.

Club Brugge was awarded its 16th Belgian title last week after the league announced the end of the season with the current standings declared final.

Spanish Soccer Clubs

The Spanish soccer player who threatened to quit his team rather than risk being infected by the coronavirus has returned to training.

Cádiz defender Fali Giménez rejoined his teammates at the second-division club about a month after saying he wouldn’t play again unless there was a vaccine for COVID-19 or if he was assured 100% that he wouldn’t get infected after being back on the field.

Giménez did not practice last week as the rest of the squad returned to training nearly two months after soccer was halted.

The 26-year-old Spaniard had said it didn’t make sense to play soccer while people were dying because of the virus. He said he would not forgive himself if he got infected and passed the virus to a family member.

Cádiz lauded Giménez’s return and published photos and videos of him training with his teammates. He underwent alternative drills because he missed last week’s sessions.

Scottish Soccer Clubs

Celtic has been declared Scottish champion after the country’s top soccer league was cut short because of the coronavirus outbreak.

It is Celtic’s ninth straight title.

The Scottish Professional Football League says clubs expressed a unanimous view that there is no prospect of completing the season.

The SPFL says it has accepted their decision and is now able to pay out $8.5 million in fees “to help clubs stay afloat.”

There have been no games in the Scottish Premiership since March 13 because of the pandemic. Final season placings have been determined by points per game up to that point.

Celtic had 80 points from 30 games so has 2.66 points per game. Rangers finished second with 2.31 points per game.

Hearts has been relegated.

Germany Soccer Clubs

A soccer player in Germany for third-division club Chemnitz has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Chemnitz did not name the player but the club says he is “completely symptom-free.” That player and two other players who had contact with him will spend 14 days in isolation.

Chemnitz says the player tested positive in a sample taken Saturday but had tested negative in a sample from two days before that. The club says it can still return to full team training on Tuesday.

The first and second divisions in Germany returned to play Saturday but the third-division restart was postponed last week from its planned date of May 26. Some clubs have still not received clearance from local authorities to play or hold full training sessions.

Italy Soccer Clubs

Soccer players in Italy will have to wait at least another 24 hours before restarting full team training.

Italian clubs resumed training on an individual basis on May 4 when lockdown measures in the country started to ease. They were slated to return to training together on Monday but they have not yet been given the green light to do so by the Italian government’s scientific panel.

The medical protocol for the resumption of Serie A has proved contentious but a revised document was delivered to Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora on Sunday and is expected to be given to the scientific panel on Monday.

Serie A plans to resume on June 13.

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