‘It’s impossible to play a contact sport safely’ - Ex-Town star Walters says players won’t want to put themselves at risk

Former Ipswich Town star Jon Walters says a 'huge number of players' won't want to put themselves at

Former Ipswich Town star Jon Walters says a 'huge number of players' won't want to put themselves at risk by playing during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town star Jon Walters says he fears football ‘may not be back for a long time’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ex-Premier League striker Walters took to Twitter this morning to voice his concerns about plans to restart the football seasons while the pandemic is still claiming lives.

Ipswich Town haven’t played since March 7 and players can’t return to training until May 16 at the earliest, but several Premier League teams have re-opened their training grounds this week.

MORE: League One players ‘told season could be cancelled and no fans expected in stadiums until January’

‘Project Restart’ - a plan which would see the top tier return behind closed doors from June 8 - is being discussed at a Premier League meeting today.

But Walters, who played for Town in two separate spells, said he believes a lot of players won’t want to risk playing. It comes after Manchester City star Sergio Aguero said players, including him, were ‘scared’ about returning to action.

You may also want to watch:

Walters wrote: “No football player is going to publicly say that they don’t want to get back playing because of the scrutiny it would place them under.

“In my experience, there will be a huge number of players that won’t want to put themselves and their families at risk in the current situation.”

Most Read

He added: “It is impossible to play a contact sport safely and no matter how many tests you want to do, you can’t guarantee that.

MORE: From £29,000 a week to £5,000 a week – Leaked survey reveals huge gap in wages between Championship and League One

“Clubs are also under a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment for their employees.”

Walters, 36, concluded: “I would love football to be back and be able to take my little boy to a match again but I fear that we may not see it back for a long time.

“I don’t think we will see fans back in stadiums till 2021 and my take on that is football is nothing without fans.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter