Last Updated: 15/05/20 1:46pm
Watford captain Troy Deeney has criticised Project Restart’s plans to resume the season, insisting he is not prepared to put football above the health of his family.
The 31-year-old has voiced his objections in the same week that all 20 captains joined a Premier League meeting to discuss player welfare with the PFA, league officials and Government representatives.
Deeney, who along with West Ham’s Mark Noble were among the most vocal critics of the plan, says he would rather go broke than force a premature return of football when conditions are not safe.
“I am not even talking about football at the moment – I am talking about my family’s health, and that is it,” Deeney said on Instagram.
“If I feel that I’m not looking after my family, then I’m not going to do it. I am not going to put my family at risk.
“What are they going to do, take money off me? I’ve been broke before so it doesn’t bother me.”
Among Deeney’s concerns is how footballers would be able to socially distance, when so much of the game relies on close quarter contact and would go against official Government advice.
He also questioned why players should be forced to return to action when there is a real prospect fans will be unable to attend games until next year.
The Watford talisman also suggested that so much of the current efforts to resume the current campaign are based on supposition rather than fact, echoing the thoughts of his chairman Scott Duxbury who outlined similar concerns.
“They’re talking about not playing in front of fans until 2021,” Deeney said, “so if it’s not safe enough for fans to be inside a stadium why should it be safe for players to be in there?
“At corners, Watford have 11 men back so you’re talking about having 18 or 19 men in a penalty area. That’s not social distancing.
“They’re the kind of questions people have been asking but we haven’t had the best answers at the moment.
“Not because people don’t want to give you the answers, it’s because they can’t give you the answers.”
Added to football’s moral conundrum is the availability of testing and whether such resources would be better spent being allocated to front line workers and health professionals battling the virus.
Deeney believes football should be the last consideration in the current climate, as NHS staff, care workers and people on the front line are unable to be tested.
The forward is adamant he will back football’s resumption when the time is right, but will not welcome attempts to fast-track the league’s return.
“We’re doing all this testing to get footballers back to work and then the NHS, care workers and the people on the front line don’t have enough tests,” Deeney said.
“How do you justify that?
“I feel like they want to get us back to work so they can take more tax off you. Premier League players pay nearly £4billion in tax a year.
“I am all for going back. But I am not for going back when it is not clear on how the steps are going to be made.”