PFA will fund weekly coronavirus checks to help clubs comply with protocols

The Professional Footballers’ Association has announced it will fund weekly checks to support EFL clubs in ensuring they continue to comply with coronavirus protocols.

A number of matches in the EFL in recent weeks have had to be postponed, as a result of coronavirus infections among playing squads, and there has been a concern that, as cases rise nationally, more games could be threatened.

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There was also controversy over the weekend concerning Tranmere, whose chairman Mark Palios said they were told by the EFL they had to play their League Two match at Salford despite two players testing positive for coronavirus and a further four forced to self-isolate.

The funding from the players’ union, which has not been disclosed but is understood to be substantial, will pay for experts from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to visit clubs’ training grounds and stadiums to ensure adherence with protocols.

It is understood the funding will not pay for any additional testing, but will nevertheless be a huge help to EFL clubs having to cope with the continuing absence of spectators.

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PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: “The PFA has committed to pay for audits for the remainder of the season and will work closely with the EFL to ensure that clubs can continue to fulfil their fixtures.

“From the outset of the COVID outbreak, the concerns for the welfare of players and all club staff has remained the PFA’s top priority.”

EFL chief executive David Baldwin said: “To ensure the continued safeguarding of players and club staff, we are looking to introduce visits to help support clubs in assessing compliance with their own operational plans and risk.

“The funding from the PFA will allow us to not only highlight the positive aspects of the protocols, but also to pick up on any areas of improvement to continue the fulfilment of fixtures in the 2020/21 season.”

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