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Zero positive tests in latest Premier League round fuels Project Restart momentum

Sam Dean
A Kosovar football referee gets tested for COVID-19 at the Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Pristina on May 30, 2020 - ARMEND NIMANI/AFP

The Premier League’s Project Restart ambitions gained further momentum on Saturday night when the league revealed that there were zero positive results in the latest round of coronavirus testing.

A total of 1,130 players and staff were tested across the league in another boost for the top flight and its plan to restart the competition on June 17.

But there was a rise in the number of positives in the Championship, with the English Football League saying on Saturday night that its latest round had produced 10 positive tests from eight clubs.

There were also seven positive tests from three clubs after 135 players and club staff from four League Two clubs were tested. Only a small number of clubs in League Two are taking part in the EFL’s testing arrangement with Nationwide Pathology.

The latest results came hours after the Government had given competitive sport the green light to resume behind closed doors from Monday.

“The wait is over,” said culture secretary Oliver Dowden. “Live British sport will shortly be back in safe and carefully controlled environments.

“This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved.”

The Premier League results are from tests that were carried out on Thursday and Friday last week, the first to be completed since the league voted to resume contact training. Testing will continue on a twice-weekly basis.

“The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency,” the league said.

“No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing."

The Championship’s previous round of testing had produced three positive tests, including two Fulham players and Blackburn Rovers captain Elliott Bennett. Before that, two people at Hull had tested positive. Championship clubs were allowed to return to non-contact training on Monday.