The planned June 17 restart of the 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) received a further boost on Saturday when the latest batch of novel coronavirus tests produced no positive results.
The tests were carried out on Thursday and Friday.
“The Premier League can today (Saturday) confirm that on Thursday and Friday, 1,130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive,” the league said in a statement.
In the three previous rounds of testing since players resumed training, there were 12 positives.
No Premier League matches have been played since March but the league said on Thursday that the season would restart on June 17 provided all safety requirements have been met.
Earlier on Saturday, the government gave the green light for the resumption of elite sports in England from Monday.
But it also said the resumption would only be if strict safety guidelines outlined in its Stage Three protocol were adhered to.
The Premier League’s Chief Executive, Richard Masters, said he welcomed the government’s announcement, but he added there was still work to be done to “ensure the safety of everyone involved”.
“All major sports, including the Premier League, have been working together with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) to produce this Stage Three protocol,” he said.
“We could not have reached this point without the full support of the government, especially DCMS, Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer’s team.
“If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019/2020 season in just over two weeks’ time.”
There are 92 fixtures remaining, all of which will be played without fans.
But the Premier League has said every game would be broadcast live in the UK by its existing broadcast partners: Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime.
The Premier League had reached an agreement for a “significant proportion” of its remaining matches to be made available for live broadcast on free-to-air platforms, including for the first time BBC Sport.