Premier League to use ‘zones’ to enforce social distancing

Premier League stadiums will apparently be divided into three zones when the season resumes behind closed doors on 17 June.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady revealed the plans on Saturday 6 June.

Premier League to split stadiums into ‘zones’

The Premier League will resume later this month after a three-month enforced absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brady said stadiums would be divided into red, amber and green zones for the purposes of controlling access to the pitch, tunnel and dressing rooms.

The revelations come after representatives of Premier League clubs met on Thursday 4 June to discuss logistics and safety protocols for the looming return to play.

Access to the most restricted zone will be granted to limited personnel and all entering this zone must have tested negative for COVID-19 in the five days prior to the match.

The Premier League’s ‘zones’

In her Sun column, Brady wrote: “[The] red zone will be the most severely restricted area, including the pitch, the tunnel, technical areas, changing rooms will be limited to 105 people maximum, to include players, coaching staff, match officials and all the essential staff only.

“And only those who have tested negative for COVID-19 in the past five days can enter this area.”

Only the red and amber zones will allow access to the stadium itself which will be closed to the general public. Clubs will also make efforts to prevent mass gatherings outside or near their stadiums. 

“The amber zone will be restricted to the minimum number of staff required to meet contractual requirements for broadcasting, media and club staff… And anyone entering this area will be subject to a temperature check and a health questionnaire.

“And the green zone is the stadium exterior, eg car parking.”

Players have instructed not to shake hands, spit or share drinks. Social distancing will be observed even in the dressing room and showers, with a 15-minute limit for pre-match talks by managers.

“A new strict accreditation process will be developed, including an isolation room should someone, unfortunately, develop symptoms of COVID-19 whilst within the stadium,” Brady added.

Enhanced TV experience

The Premier League have promised television viewers an immersive experience that will include access to 360-degree replays and pre-match tunnel shots. 

Premier League players’ shirts will feature the logo of Britain’s state-run National Health Service to pay tribute to their efforts to combat the spread of the virus.

“So we are in good shape,” Brady said. “We are ready. We are raring to go.”

Brady’s West Ham had been among the strongest voices calling for the season to be voided but it seems only a massive surge in cases linked to football might stop the planned return.

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