O’s McAnuff wants clubs to consider extra risk faced by black footballers

Jobi McAnuff holds off Liam O'Neil (pic Simon O'Connor)

Jobi McAnuff holds off Liam O'Neil (pic Simon O'Connor) - Credit: Archant

Leyton Orient player/coach Jobi McAnuff wants football clubs to consider the extra risk faced by black footballers from coronavirus when the season restarts.

Black people are up to four times more likely to die with COVID-19 than their white counterparts, according to analysis this week from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Fatalities from coronavirus were also found to be twice as high in the most deprived parts of the UK, where those from ethnic minority backgrounds mainly reside, compared with the least deprived.

“It should be something of the utmost concern for black footballers and players from ethnic minority backgrounds,” McAnuff told Sky Sports News.

“You look at the social and economic factors, and a lot of Premier League footballers probably won’t be in that category in terms of where they’re living and things that can affect those numbers.

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“Even taking them (the factors) away, in some other studies you’re still twice as likely to die.

“You look at the make-up and the total number of [black] players in the Premier League, the last time I saw you’re looking at 35 per cent.

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“It’s probably higher now and that is a large percentage of people that are at a higher risk should they catch COVID-19.”

Former Jamaican international McAnuff has also openly said he would not return to playing until the players know the measures that will put in place to ensure their safety.

“It’s a really hard one to say. I haven’t been privy to some of these restart guidelines and precautions that are supposedly going to be given to the footballers and clubs to abide by,” McAnuff told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It’s going to come down to individual decisions. I think once those measures are put in place, it’s going to be up to players to decide.

“At the moment if I’m going to be blunt, the answer would be no, as I just don’t feel safety can be guaranteed in the current climate we’re in.”

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