Coronavirus: Third Brighton player tests positive, chief executive Paul Barber confirms
Premier League clubs will meet to discuss Project Restart's plans to complete the season at neutral venues - of which Brighton have been vocal critics
Last Updated: 10/05/20 8:41pm
A third Brighton player has tested positive for coronavirus, chief executive Paul Barber has confirmed.
It was confirmed in March that a Brighton player had tested positive after three members of the squad had shown symptoms.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Barber confirmed a third member of the first-team group has produced a positive test despite the safety guidelines being in place.
"It is a concern," he said. "Unfortunately we've had a third player test positive yesterday (Saturday, May 9), so despite all of the measures that we've been taking over the past few weeks, where the players haven't been involved in any significant training at all, we've still suffered another player testing positive for the virus.
"So there are concerns and I think it's normal for all clubs to have those concerns. We want to make sure we do everything that we can to ensure those protocols are in place and are safe and secure and mitigate the risk as far as we can."
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Barber, who is a vocal opponent of playing Premier League matches at neutral venues when the season is resumed, believes the most important next step will be the delivery of a framework from the league about how clubs should structure their training schedules.
"One of the things we've asked the Premier League for is a complete plan of all of the stages of returning to play," Barber said.
"First we need to get players back training in small groups, then they need to get involved in some contact training and then training for a match before the match itself.
"So there are lots of stages, it's very complex and there are people at the Premier League working very hard to produce detailed paperwork to move through those stages as safely as possible."
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"I don't think the Bundesliga and Brighton cases are game changers. They are just indicative of the type of hurdles that are going to have to be surmounted if you want to get football back on. Talking about Germany, there were three players from Cologne, at the start of the month, who tested positive for coronavirus, yet they still carried on training. The local health authority gave them permission and they are scheduled to resume their Bundesliga season against Mainz next Sunday.
"Local health authorities in different regions of Germany are reacting differently. Clearly in the case of the latest Brighton player to test positive, they won't have resumed team training yet, obviously, so it might be that he just has to self-isolate.
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"These are all problems and barriers that we know are going to be put up. Without doubt we know they are going to be put up and they are going to be tough to get over, but you mention asking the question to Dominic Raab, the reason why No. 10 asked a sports reporter to ask a question at that briefing, was because they want to get out there.
"He was ready to say that they want it to come back, they want it to lift the spirit of the nation, which Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden repeated on Friday, and it's quite clear from the feedback we are getting from the government that they want this to go ahead, and the Premier League, for financial reasons, want it to go ahead.
"Basically, the will is there from the government and from football to get it back on. They know they are going to have issues like this that are going to come up every single day. Last night the Bundesliga, today the Brighton issue and they are going to have to be got over.
"Whether or not these hurdles can be surmounted remains to be seen, but the underlying point, certainly from the government this week, is that they will do all they can to help the Premier League get this back on."
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