Players have health concerns as EPL is allowed to restart from June 1, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Players have health concerns as EPL is allowed to restart from June 1

Players have genuine concerns about their health as the English Premier League considers resuming fixtures amid the Covid-19 pandemic, players' union deputy chief Bobby Barnes has said.

The league's Project Restart envisages a return to play next month at neutral venues, as the UK government yesterday gave the green light for elite sport to resume from June 1.

Step two of the government's 50-page road map to end the lockdown includes "permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact".

Events will be allowed to take place only if sufficient progress is made in limiting the spread of the virus between now and then.

But players are worried about transmission when sharing the pitch with others in a contact sport.

A British government study said black people are nearly twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than whites and Barnes said young black players were apprehensive.

"There are players who have voiced genuine concerns," the Professional Footballers Association's (PFA) Barnes told The Times.

"You've got players who've got young children, players with pregnant partners, people with underlying health conditions.

"Some of the young black players I've spoken to have read what's in the press and want answers to that (government study). 'Am I more affected in my demographic and if so why?'

"My stance with the Premier League from day one has been it's all very well those of us in suits saying what our opinions are. But we're not going to be out there on a Saturday afternoon and we're not going to be going back to our family."

A third first-team player at Brighton & Hove Albion tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend, sparking fresh concerns about the league's restart.

Former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie Redknapp has also voiced his concern about football's return.

He said on The Football Show on Sky Sports: "I'd have felt more nervous, players need assurances and it is vitally important when they go back to training, they feel totally safe.

"Right now, I don't think the assurances are there." - REUTERS