London (AFP)

The 20 football clubs of the English elite voted Monday "unanimously" in favor of a resumption from Tuesday of training "in small groups", "while maintaining the measures of social distancing", announced the Premier League.

This is an important but modest first step towards returning to competition, the date of which remains very uncertain.

Earlier in the morning, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, Oliver Dowden, had advanced in mid-June as a goal for a resumption of matches.

"I had very productive discussions on Thursday with the federation (FA), the Football League (EFL) and the Premier League. We are working hard with them to try to come back, aiming for mid-June, but the number one criterion one will be public safety, "he told Sky Sports.

The Premier League, faced with the fears of certain players about their health and the reservations of the clubs on certain terms of its recovery project ("Project Restart"), such as the organization of matches in a reduced number of stadiums, is careful to advance a date.

"A broad consultation will continue with the players, the coaches, the clubs, (the unions of the players and the coaches) while a protocol for the return to full training will be developed", she is satisfied to add.

Initially, the Premier League hoped to resume collective training on Monday, play its first matches on June 9 and have completed the remaining 92 league games by the end of July.

© 2020 AFP