Coronavirus: Derby defender Curtis Davies wants government-cleared return date

Curtis Davies
Curtis Davies has been at Derby since 2017

Derby defender Curtis Davies believes players will not feel safe to return until the government sets a date.

The English Football League hopes to gain clearance for a 25 May return to training for Championship clubs as they aim to restart with the Premier League.

English football has been halted since March amid the coronavirus crisis.

"We're waiting for the next set of guidelines to clear things up for us a bit more as our health is paramount over playing any football," he said.

"I don't think many people will be willing to put themselves and their families on the line when it's a hopeful date rather than a government-cleared and safe date."

Unlike the Premier League's 'Project Restart' which has a pathway to a return, there is not a similar model for clubs in the EFL to resume.

The EFL board and all 24 Championship clubs held a conference call on Wednesday to discuss what they should do going forward.

It is understood a target restart of 6 June has been discussed but clubs still anticipate a more likely 13 June date, in line with the Premier League.

League One and Two clubs will speak on Friday, when the prospect of ending the season seems certain to move closer.

'Avoiding the virus'

The Office for National Statistics says black men and women are nearly twice as likely to die with coronavirus than white people in England and Wales, while people of South Asian origin are also at significantly higher risk.

Leyton Orient player-coach Jobi McAnuff said on Monday that he is unsure whether footballers' safety can be guaranteed if the sport resumes and said he is concerned about the "disproportionate" number of deaths among people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK.

But Davies says he is more worried about it being safe for everyone to play again.

"I don't think it's been a big subject of conversation between any of the black players I've spoken to," the 35-year-old told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The big concern is just whether or not it's going to be safe. I don't think we're singling ourselves out to be more vulnerable.

"The main concern is trying to avoid getting the virus, rather than thinking, 'I'm black, I've got more chance of this.' It's not necessarily been a concern for me.

"It's the side of if I were to catch up with a family member when we're allowed to, that's when it becomes a certain concern. And that's when I would take serious worry."

As an asthmatic, Davies is part of a vulnerable group and says that if players are told to wear face masks while playing, it could be an issue.

"Most of us players are obviously fit, but it's totally different to being fit, run around with nothing on your face to run around on the pitch with the mask on your face," he added.

"I'm an asthmatic myself. I'm sure there's others out there. So depending on what your breathing is like, that'll be an interesting thing moving forward as well."