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Premiership and Championship rugby clubs given a roadmap for training

PREMIERSHIP and Championship teams have been given the go-ahead to begin non-contact training.

Clubs will need to provide a written declaration to Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union that a number of key criteria have been met.

Stage one protocols allow for individuals or small groups to train in the same facility, while adhering to social-distancing rules at all times.

Professional Game Board chair Chris Booy (pictured) said: ‘Clubs will need to satisfy a number of requirements to start stage one as we continue the huge amount of work to enable a safe return to training. The welfare of the players, management and staff is our only priority, and we look forward to the season resuming when it is safe.’

Players and staff must complete an education module before an informed decision on whether to opt in.

Clubs must appoint a Covid-19 manager and medical lead, set out cleaning and hygiene standards, provide personal protective equipment and conduct daily screening.

There is no timescale for a return to contact training and the Premiership is unlikely to resume before August.

Rob Baxter, director of rugby at leaders Exeter, said: ‘A huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure all of our players and staff will have the highest standards of care.

‘Initially, our training will be carried out in an outdoor environment in small groups, after which we make the appropriate decisions based on the information we have at hand.’

The Premiership Rugby board has given its unanimous support to adopting 52 recommendations set out in Lord Myners’ review of the competition’s salary-cap regulations. Myners’ proposals include stripping titles for serious offences, and greater accountability for clubs, players and agents. The review was held in the aftermath of champions Saracens’ relegation for repeated cap breaches.

■ The French Top 14 season has been officially abandoned due to the coronavirus crisis and no champions will be named, the French rugby league announced yesterday.