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Team celebrations, spitting and swapping shirts 'will be banned' under Premier League health protocols


Team celebrations, spitting, sharing water bottles and swapping shirts 'will be banned' under new medical protocols set to be introduced when the Premier League resumes.

The 20 Premier League clubs are set to take a vote on ways to complete the remaining 92 matches of the season on Monday as the United Kingdom begins to relax lockdown rules.

And various health and hygiene measures 'that could be in place for up to a year' will also be discussed.

The Daily Telegraph report that strict rules will be imposed on training sessions for three to four weeks prior to the planned mid-June resumption to allow players to adapt.

For example, spitting will be banned in training and it is expected this will be extended to matches as well.

It is possible that referees will be given the power to sanction those who spit on the pitch, something which has been mooted by FIFA officials.

Michel D'Hooghe, FIFA's medical committee chairman, said: 'This is common practice in football and it's not very hygienic.

'So, when we start football again I think we should have to avoid that at maximum. The question is whether that will be possible.

'Perhaps they can give a yellow card. It is unhygienic and a good way to spread the virus.'

The ban on the sharing of drinks bottles, which may have to be individually labelled with player names, was mentioned in a seven-page document prepared by the Premier League setting out health and social distancing protocols.

The restrictions could also be extended to include players celebrating together after scoring goals and swapping shirts after matches. The customary pre-match handshakes and huddles are unlikely to take place.

The Premier League's Project Restart plan to return players to full training this month and resume matches behind closed doors - and likely at neutral venues - in June will be outlined to the team captains' group next week.

The plans will also be explained to the 20 top-flight managers and there will be involvement from the Professional Footballers' Association and the League Managers Association.

Players will be told there needs to be a culture change at training and in matches and they will need greater discipline over hygiene and social distancing.

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