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

The British Government has said talks are ongoing to get the Premier League “up and running as soon as possible” as top-flight players begin to return to training grounds.

And 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.

It comes as Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s department leads discussions on how professional sport can restart should restrictions be eased.

Weekly meetings will now be taking place between medical officials from the major sports governing bodies and representatives of Public Health England.

It is understood the Premier League’s medical adviser Mark Gillett and the Football Association’s head of medicine Charlotte Cowie will be among those involved in the Government discussions.

Dowden, speaking at a parliamentary questions session for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “I personally have been in talks with the Premier League with a view to getting football up and running as soon as possible in order to support the whole football community.