Publish Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 3:42
Ethnic minority players voiced concerns about returning to action in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to the Professional Football Players Association.
Data from the Office of National Statistics suggest that black men and women are almost twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as non-whites, even when factors such as health, disability, family composition and land deprivation are taken into account.
Michael Bennett, director of welfare for PFA players, says he was called in by risk-conscious players. The PFA asked the Premier League to conduct further research on the matter.
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"I talked to players particularly from a BAME group because of concerns about contracting the virus," he told the PA news agency.
"I'm not sure how significant (the risk) is in that particular area, all we can do is talk to them about it.
“There were players who came to me with concerns about coming back because of health problems, and I want to note that, from the point of view of the well being of the PFA, the health and safety of the players must come first before any other thing. "
Premier League medical advisor Mark Gillett says all possible measures are being taken to mitigate the risk for players of all ethnicities. Clubs are due to return to training for small groups on Tuesday, in the first stage of the competition's project reinitialization plans.
"It is fair to recognize that there is an increased risk in the BAME groups," he said.
“In mitigating this, the risk in fit young athletes is still very, very small and I think it is an important factor. I come back to the fact that we are trying to create the safest working environment possible for these people.
"I am happy to have mitigated all the risks that we can understand at this point and, when more information is available, we will obviously do everything we can to mitigate that as well. We will certainly move forward with this in real time as more information becomes available."
Watford striker Troy Deeney said he would not return to training.
Talking to Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew on their Talk the Talk program on YouTube, Deeney said he raised concerns when the protocols were introduced to players last week.
"At the meeting, I asked very simple questions," he said.
“For black, Asian and mixed ethnicities, they are four times more likely to contract the disease and two times more likely to have a lasting disease: is there any additional screening? Heart things to see if anyone has a problem?
“I feel that this must be addressed. I can't cut my hair until mid-July, but can I get into a box with 19 people and jump to a header? I do not know how it works. No one was able to answer the questions – not because they didn't want to, because they didn't have the information.
"I just said, & # 39; If you don't know the information, why would I put myself at risk? & # 39;"
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