Watford captain Troy Deeney says he will not return to training because he fears for his family’s health amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to BBC, Premier League teams are starting non-contact training from Tuesday.
Deeney does not want to put his baby, who has had breathing difficulties, “in more danger” and has raised concerns over the increased risk to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) players.
“We’re due back in this week, I’ve said I’m not going in,” Deeney, 31, said.
Watford are not due to train on Tuesday and it is understood the club do not have a problem with Deeney’s stance.
Speaking to Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew on Talk the Talk YouTube show, Deeney added: “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 and I don’t want to be bringing that home.
“My son is only five months old, he had breathing difficulties, so I don’t want to come home to put him in more danger.”
“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.”
Deeney also raised the concerns of black, Asian and ethnic minority players over studies that they are more at risk from the virus.
Black men and women are nearly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as white people in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics.
About a third of Premier League players are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.
“Within the meeting I asked very simple questions. For black, Asian and mixed ethnicities they are four times more likely to get the illness and we’re twice as likely to have long-lasting illnesses,” Deeney said.
“Is there any additional screening? Heart stuff to see if people have got problems? No. Okay, well I feel like that should be addressed.”
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.