Yellow cards should be handed out to players who spit on the field when football resumes, a FIFA council member has said.

Those players who spit after returning to the pitch should be punished as they risk spreading Covid-19, FIFA’s medical committee chairman Michel D’Hooghe told The Daily Telegraph.

The Belgian doctor acknowledged that spitting “is a common practice in football and it is not very hygienic”.

Speaking to the paper, he said: “This is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful before we start again. I am not pessimistic but I am rather sceptical at the moment.”

D’Hooghe said football administrators would need to consider punishment via a card due to the need to protect players and staff near the pitch.

The prospective date for the return of the League of Ireland is 19 June.

Meanwhile, the English Premier League’s resumption is being kept under constant review, with the clubs set to gather for a shareholders’ meeting on Friday.

8 June has been reported as a potential start date while the PA news agency understands that 6 June could also be an option.

Some first-team Brighton players returned for “restricted external access to the training pitches” for individual training, while West Ham have started offering limited access to the training ground.

A West Ham spokesperson said: “Players in apartments or without safe access to green spaces are permitted to individually run around the pitches at Rush Green.

“Access will be limited to one player at a time and all sessions will be in line with Government guidelines around social distancing, with everyone’s safety and wellbeing of paramount importance.

“Players will travel alone, conduct their tailored programmes and then return home. No-one will be granted access to the main building.”

Tottenham – who have had to remind players of their responsibilities after some were pictured flouting Covid-19 guidelines – announced their squad will be allowed to return to their training ground on Tuesday.

The Premier League is not alone in eyeing a restart among the major leagues. The Bundesliga is due to return next month, subject to clearance from the relevant authorities, with the German top-flight’s clubs already back in training.

France’s Ligue 1 is targeting a mid-June return with players set to begin returning to training on 11 May, while in Italy the prime minister Giuseppe Conte said sports teams could resume group training from 18 May.

The Italian football federation (FIGC) will hold a meeting of its executive council on 8 May to present its plans to a government scientific committee.

Meanwhile, UEFA is releasing €236.5 million to national associations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

European football’s governing body confirmed the money is part of the HatTrick funding, with each association, including the Football Association of Ireland, receiving up to €4.3m.

Usually this money is released to develop specific and targeted areas, but because of the unprecedented financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak UEFA will leave it up to its 55 member associations how best to use the money.