Prem player uproar as one club tells stars they can OPT OUT of restart over health and safety fears – The Sun
BOSSES at a Premier League club have told their players they can OPT OUT of Project Restart for health and safety.
But the move has sparked outrage among fellow top-flight pros, unhappy they have not received the same offer.
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The revelation came on the players’ WhatsApp group which was initially between the 20 club captains — but has swelled to over 100 members.
Health and safety is a key issue which threatens to disrupt the planned return on June 12.
Now a growing number of stars believe that they are being railroaded into playing again before it is safe.
SunSport understands one club has emailed its squad individually, making it clear if they are not comfortable with playing a game — or even the remainder of the campaign — then they are free to take that decision.
It has caused stars from the remaining clubs to question why their own bosses have not come up with a compassionate response.
They do not want individuals to be open to criticism if they take their own decision not to play, preferring to be a united front.
The fall-out from Friday’s Prem meeting continued as Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said players have not had enough of a voice.
Lampard told BT Sport: “The things I welcomed were the fact player and staff safety will come first and the fact that they are going to have conversations with players and managers. That hasn’t really happened, to be honest.”
Lampard is well aware of the fears expressed by players like Sergio Aguero about returning to training.
SunSport revealed players shared their worries with leading figures at their clubs like Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and Mark Noble.
Lampard added: “I’ve seen a couple of major players in the Premier League voice some doubts and concerns. I get that, we all as a nation have doubts and concerns.
“Those are conversations I will be having with the players and all the staff that work regularly at Cobham about how they feel right now.”
The lack of consultation has also filtered down to the Championship, where Leeds and West Brom are desperate to join the top flight.
Prem record appearance- holder Gareth Barry, now at WBA, said: “No one has spoken to me. No sort of calls to ask my opinion on stuff like that.
“But like everyone else, we are just following Government guidelines until decisions are made at the top.”
The feeling among players is that if measures imposed are not safe enough for the public, then it is not safe for them either.
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They do not want football to be treated as a special case — and have fears of contracting Covid-19 and passing it to their families.
There are also concerns on issues such as insurance, as well as how they overcome physical contact safely.
Stars are increasingly resolute that they should stand together and insist all their demands are met before they agree to complete the season.
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