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Brighton chief Paul Barber’s pleased with the Premier League’s slow start towards return

BRIGHTON chief executive Paul Barber remains cautiously optimistic about the prospect of returning to action after the Premier League began phase one of its restart plan.

Teams returned to socially distanced training this week having not played since March due to coronavirus.

There were six positive tests from 748 across 19 clubs with three at Watford — including defender Adrian Mariappa — plus Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan having contracted the virus.

Barber confirmed the Seagulls did not have any further positive tests this week, having already had three players contract Covid-19, and is upbeat as the top flight attempts to resume.

‘Our policy all the way through this has been to announce if we have positive tests,’ he said. ‘If there was no announcement [this week], it means no positive tests. It (six positive tests) feels as if it was a low number.

‘Obviously any positive test is worrying and concerning for the people involved and we wish them all the best. It certainly seemed to me a good restart to the first stage of training protocol.

‘[Returning to training] is an important first step in our movement towards getting games back on. The first stage was agreed unanimously by the shareholders, which was a positive step, and obviously the players are now adjusting to that protocol.’

Meanwhile, Hope Powell wants the Women’s Super League decided by points-per-game with relegation off the table if it cannot be finished.

The Football Association is continuing to discuss the termination of the WSL and Women’s Championship seasons, with clubs saying there will be ‘significant challenges’ in restarting.

‘For me, (the preferred outcome is) points-per-game with no relegation,’ said Seagulls boss Powell, whose team are ninth. ‘The logical step would be no relegation and perhaps promote one from the Championship.’