Premier League: No positive tests in fourth round of coronavirus testing

1,130 players and club staff tested in fourth round of testing; fifth round of testing due to take place on Monday and Tuesday next week

The resumption of the Premier League campaign remains uncertain with talks ongoing between clubs, players, medical experts and top-flight officials

There have been no positive tests for coronavirus after the fourth round of Premier League testing.

The latest batch of tests, which were conducted on Thursday and Friday this week, are the first to take place since clubs unanimously agreed a return to contact training.

A total of 12 people tested positive from over 2,700 tests conducted in the first three rounds.

For the fourth round of testing, the number of tests available to each club increased from 50 to 60. 1,130 people were tested in total.

COVID-19 impact on football

March 5 - Pre-match handshakes banned in the Premier League.
March 11 - Man City vs Arsenal is first Premier League game suspended; Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid the last top level game played in England.
March 12 - Man Utd, Wolves play away Europa League ties behind closed doors, Rangers host Bayer Leverkusen in front of fans.
March 13 - Football suspended following an emergency meeting between PL, FA, EFL and WSL
April 15 - SPFL clubs approve plan to end the Scottish Championship, League One and league Two seasons.
May 15 - League Two clubs vote to end the season with immediate effect.
May 17 - Premier League players and staff tested for COVID-19.
May 18 - Scottish Premiership curtailed, with points per game determining league positions and Celtic named champions.
May 19 - Premier League clubs return to socially distanced group training.
May 25 - Women's Super League cancelled, with title and relegation to be determined.
May 27 - Premier League clubs vote to resume contact training.

A Premier League statement read: "The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive.

"The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing."

The Premier League has set a provisional date of return for June 17, provided all safety tests are cleared, with Sky Sports showing 64 live games, including 25 which will be broadcast free to air.

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In addition to the 39 matches scheduled to be broadcast on Sky before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News on Friday, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said test results from the first three rounds had been "reassuring" and the number of positive cases were at an anticipated level.

Testing will continue on a twice-weekly basis as the resumption of the season moves closer.

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Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden confirms competitive sport can resume behind closed doors from June 1 in England

It's official - Football is back!

The government has issued health and safety guidelines which will pave the way for elite sport to return behind closed doors in England from Monday.

The rules form stage three of the process of bringing sport back from the coronavirus lockdown. Stage two, which allowed for close-contact training for elite athletes, was published last Monday.

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: "The wait is over. I can now make it official: football is coming back.

"Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments.

"This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it's right for them to restart.

Etihad Stadium 1:49
Dowden says clubs will have to accept playing in neutral venues, if required to do so

"This is a significant moment for British sport. By working with clinicians every step of the way, we are creating the safest possible environments for everyone involved."

preview image 1:06
Gary Neville believes great strides have been made ahead of football's return in England and the Premier League returning is a big moment

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "The Premier League welcomes the Government's announcement today.

"We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on 17 June, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers - along with all our other stakeholders - as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority.

"If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019-20 season in just over two weeks' time."

'Reserved optimism over test results'

Analysis from Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes...

On the day when the Government gave the green light for elite domestic competition sport to resume on June 1, the Premier League also revealed that the fourth round of COVID-19 testing returned not one positive test.

Even in these early green shoots of recovery towards the resumption of football on June 17, it's encouraging and pleasing news.

What makes the data even more intriguing is that the latest round of tests saw the largest pool of players and other club staff tested (1130).

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on September 22, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) 1:10
The Premier League's Project Restart was given a further boost with no positive tests from the fourth round of coronavirus testing

Prior to these latest results, both the Premier League and government had expressed reserved optimism with just 12 positive tests overall.

Now with 3882 tests undertaken in total, the percentage of positive tests drops to just above 0.3 per cent.

In a week when many clubs stepped up their training after the government last Monday allowed 'close-contact' training to begin again, these figures will allow for further optimism.

As both the government and the Premier League have been keen to make clear, the health and safety of all players and staff is paramount.

So while there is further cause for optimism after the fourth round of tests, it remains crucial that the rigorous hygiene and medical processes put in place continue to work.

The fifth round of testing is due to take on Monday and Tuesday of next week, following the government now formally allowing elite sport to resume.

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