NFL, union agree plan for virtual pre-season workouts

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NFL logo (Twitter)
NFL logo (Twitter)

The NFL and its players' union have agreed on a strategy for conducting off-season training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the agreement, clubs can begin online workouts with their players on 20 April, with no on-field work allowed until all 32 club facilities can reopen.

The virtual period will consist of three consecutive weeks of classroom instruction, workouts and non-football educational programmes using video conferencing technology.

New head coaches can add extra voluntary sessions.

Teams will be allowed to send players workout equipment and monitoring devices with a maximum cost of $1 500 per player.

"Both our Executive committee and Board of Player Reps have voted unanimously to approve a virtual off-season programme up until the start of training camp," the NFLPA said in a statement.

"We will be sending out all the details and setting up calls with players and agents for how this will work shortly."

Teams must pay players a daily rate as mandated by the collective bargaining agreement for completing online activities.

Shelter-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus have forced the closure of all NFL team facilities.

The 2020 draft is still scheduled to be conducted 23-25 April, but it is to be a virtual affair with commissioner Roger Goodell introducing the selections from his home.

Ceremonies and public events originally scheduled in Las Vegas have been cancelled.

Draft television hosts and a limited number of commentators will be in-studio at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol Connecticut. A majority of the analysts, reporters and other experts will contribute remotely from home studios.

The league will also use the broadcast to raise funds to support Covid-19 relief efforts.

The 2020 NFL season is scheduled to start on 10 September.

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