Premier League clubs agree matchday protocols

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LONDON (Reuters) - All 20 Premier League clubs have approved matchday protocols for next week's resumption of action after a three-month stoppage due to by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A shareholders meeting on Thursday discussed details of medical and operational measures, including how many backroom staff will be allowed to attend away games.

The Premier League's Project Restart kicks off next Wednesday with the first two of the 92 outstanding fixtures.

Manchester City will host Arsenal and Aston Villa welcome Sheffield United.

All the remaining games will be played without fans and a limit of 300 people -- including broadcast staff, written media, commentators, doping officials and scouts -- will be allowed in stadiums on matchdays.

Stadiums will be split into red, amber and green zones with the red zone to include 20 players, 12 coaching and medical staff and a further five "essential staff".

Other measures include deep cleaning of corner flags, goalposts, substitution boards and match balls while medical staff will wear protective equipment when treating players.

Players will be tested for coronavirus at their club's training ground ahead of the journeys to stadiums for matches.

Teams will take to the field separately, rather than side-by-side, and games will feature drinks breaks midway through each half.

The technical area for managers will be reconfigured to allow for greater social distancing, as will team dugouts.

VAR video reviews will be utilised but the Stockley Park centre, near London, which contains the review staff and equipment has also been re-arranged to allow for greater distancing of staff.

Substitutes and managers on the bench will not, however, be required to wear masks and players do not have to wear masks when entering the stadium or dressing room.

Clubs are being discouraged from using hotels to stay in before games and instead are being asked to make more use of planes to travel to games where suitable.

Clubs will also respect a minute's silence for those who have died during the pandemic and kits will include a heart-shaped badge in honour of NHS and frontline staff during the crisis.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman,; Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)

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