Premier League referees set to be tested for coronavirus for the first time and officials with Covid-19 could miss remainder of season
- Referees and assistants will be tested for coronavirus for the first time this week
- PGMOL are confident they will have enough officials to cover remaining games
- Any referees confirmed to have contracted Covid-19 will miss season’s restart
- Referees are then likely to test themselves from home when the season resumes
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Referees and assistants will report to their nearest Premier League club training ground this week to be tested for the first time.
Ensuring match officials are negative is one of the final few boxes that needs ticking before the 2019-20 season can restart.
But the PGMOL are confident they have sufficient numbers to cover the upcoming matches, even if some referees return positive for coronavirus.
Premier League referees and assistants will be tested for Covid-19 for the first time this week
So far in player and club staff testing, there have been 13 positives and 6261 negatives.
Any referees confirmed with Covid-19 would miss the season’s restart on June 17.
One source close to several officials expects it could even sideline them for the rest of the campaign.
But the PGMOL are confident they have sufficient numbers to cover the upcoming matches
That would hit referees hard financially, with a significant part of their salary based on per-game and performance-related bonuses.
Once the season restarts, referees are likely to test themselves from home rather than continue to report to their nearest training ground.
The Premier League is footing the cost of coronavirus testing for its officials, while the EFL are taking care of their own.
Any referees confirmed with to have contracted coronavirus would miss the season’s restar
If needed, the PGMOL will dip into Select Group 2 if they become short of referees.
Mike Dean, Michael Oliver and Co have been keeping fit from home during lockdown.
There are currently no plans for them to get together before the season restarts, which suggests there will be no fitness tests.
The PGMOL sports science department have been monitoring their fitness from afar instead, while referees have taken part in refresher courses together on Zoom.
Top-flight officials, including Martin Atkinson (pictured), have been keeping fit from home
That involves them gathering virtually to watch and analyse clips from games earlier this season, including any VAR mistakes which were made.
Officials have not been able to take charge of clubs’ in-house friendlies, with coaching staff told to oversee the games instead.
But that could change later this week once referees have been confirmed as negative.
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