May 19, 2020 / 10:56 AM / 16 days ago

Watford's Deeney says no to training over COVID-19 concerns

LONDON (Reuters) - Watford captain Troy Deeney says he will not resume training this week out of concern for his son’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Watford - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - February 23, 2020 Watford's Troy Deeney Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

Premier League players are allowed to return to training from Tuesday after clubs agreed to allow “small group” sessions, with a possible resumption of normal ‘contact’ training next week.

Deeney, 31, said last week he would not put his family at risk.

“We’re due back in this week. I’ve said I’m not going in,” he told a podcast with boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew.

“My son is five months and he’s had breathing difficulties. I don’t want to come home to put him in more danger. You’ve got to drive in in your own kit, you can’t have showers, then you’ve got to drive back home in the same dirty kit you’ve got.”

Britain’s statistics office said this month that black men are 4.2 times more likely to die from COVID-19-related causes than white males.

About a third of Premier League players are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.

“While we are getting tested and while we are going to be in a very safe environment, it only takes one person to get infected within the group. I don’t want to be bringing that home,” said Deeney.

“I can’t get a haircut until mid-July, but I can go and get in a box with 19 people and jump for a header. I don’t know how that works. No one could answer the questions, not because they didn’t want to, just because they don’t know the information.”

The United Kingdom’s COVID-19 official death toll has reached nearly 43,000, according to a Reuters tally of data that includes suspected cases and confirms the country’s status as the worst-hit in Europe.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge

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