Deeney calls on Boris Johnson to stop football amid rising Covid cases

Troy Deeney claims footballers can’t stop breaking Covid rules because it’s their ‘NATURE’ to hug team-mates to celebrate goals… as Watford captain joins calls to shut down the sport

  • Troy Deeney wants Boris Johnson to halt football amid rising Covid numbers
  • The Watford skipper believes the sport needs a break to continue safely
  • The Premier League has seen a record high number of cases in the latest testing
  • West Brom boss Sam Allardyce also called for football to be locked down again

Troy Deeney has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to shut down football in a bid to ensure players’ safety amid rapidly rising Covid cases across the country.

There have been calls in recent weeks to introduce a circuit-breaker following the most recent surge in coronavirus cases, which has seen a number of games postponed as a result of outbreaks within squad bubbles.

Last week, the Premier League recorded 40 new Covid-19 cases in the latest round of testing, more than double the cases recorded the previous week and a record high in the league.

Troy Deeney (left) has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) to shut down football

Players have also been told to rein in hugging and handshakes during goal celebrations in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading but Deeney believes the authorities’ guidance is confusing.

‘Unless the government or governing bodies step in and say, “you cannot do this, you cannot do that”, then it goes back to what’s morally right,’ Deeney told talkSPORT.

‘You can’t stop people from going away [on holiday], you can’t stop people from playing football and naturally going to hug your team-mate who’s assisted you – it’s something we’ve done for years.  

‘Ultimately, it’s up to the powers that be to shut football down, and it doesn’t matter if it carries on into June and July like last year, or we talk about it week after week as people make mistakes.

The Watford skipper believes the Covid messaging and guidance is contradictory

Deeney pointed out how British boxing has postponed all its fights for the month of January

‘Who’s responsibility is it to draw the line? Footballers are human beings at the end of the day.’

Football was included under the ‘elite sports’ umbrella by Boris Johnson as to what would be able to continue during the third national lockdown. 

However, the Watford skipper believes there’s a contradiction with the argument over football’s ability to continue given that boxing is taking time out this month to reduce the spread of the virus.

British Boxing was postponed last week which has led to a number of fights being called off but fighters are still allowed to continue training before the action resumes next month.

‘Boxing’s an elite sport but has been shut down for a month so a lot of the guidance is contradictory,’ he added.

‘That’s when you get a lot of the confusion and people asking, “why am I actually doing this?”. Until there’s a clear, transparent message on why football can carry on, everyone has to carry on as normal.

Deeney also claimed players will struggle to stop hugging team-mates during celebrations

Chelsea players embrace after Callum Hudson-Odoi scored in the 4-0 win over Morecambe

Players were reminded to reduce the amount of hugging during celebrations to reduce spread

‘We’re always going to make this counter-argument against ourselves because as long as we’re told to act normal, we’re going to carry on being normal.’

West Brom boss Sam Allardyce has also called for a football lockdown to be considered to protect those involved at the elite sport level. 

The Premier League has now moved to testing players twice per week and introduced stricter protocols in a bid to prevent the risk of the deadly disease spreading further.

Allardyce, 66, has previously advocated for a two-week circuit-breaker to allow football to get on top of the virus, and on Saturday the Albion boss said a break may be the best solution. 

Allardyce has been an advocate of a football lockdown to allow time to get on top of the virus

A number of games have been postponed due to outbreaks at several Premier League clubs 

‘We’re out to entertain and if we’re to continue to do that then we’re fearful of someone catching a virus they’re not going to recover from?’ he said.

‘I don’t know how long we can carry on. The big help is the vaccinations happening as quickly as possible but we may need a lockdown if cases outside of football continue to rise. 

‘There’s talk about extra restrictions that we are going to come under in the next few weeks.

‘We’ve got to do things at the training ground in smaller groups, we’ve got to spread ourselves out further and meetings have to be done in smaller groups. We cannot let players sit down.’ 


Round 1: Aug 31-Sep 6 – 1,605 tested, with three testing positive.

Round 2: Sep 7-13 – 2,131 tested, with four testing positive.

Round 3: Sep 14-20- 1,574 tested, with three testing positive.

Round 4: Sep 21-27 – 1,595 tested, with 10 testing positive.

Round 5: Sep 28-Oct 4 – 1,587 tested, with nine testing positive.

Round 6: Oct 5-11 – 1,128 tested, with five testing positive.

Round 7: Oct 12-18 – 1,575 tested, with eight testing positive.

Round 8: Oct 19-25 – 1,609 tested, with two testing positive.

Round 9: Oct 26-Nov 1 – 1,446 tested, with four testing positive.

Round 10: Nov 2-8 – 1,646 tested, with four testing positive.

Round 11: Nov 9-15 – 1,207 tested, with 16 testing positive.

Round 12: Nov 16-22 – 1,530 tested, with eight testing positive.

Round 13: Nov 23-29 – 1,381 tested, with 10 testing positive.

Round 14: Nov 30-Dec 6 – 1,483 tested, with 14 testing positive.

Round 15: Dec 7-13 – 1,549 tested, with six testing positive.

Round 16: Dec 14-20 – 1,569 tested, with seven testing positive 

Round 17: Dec 21-27 – 1,479 tested, with 18 testing positive 

Round 18: Dec 28-Jan 3 – 2,295 tested, with 40 testing positive 

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