The Executive Director of the World Players Association, Brendan Schwab on Thursday said professional athletes are more vulnerable to serious coronavirus symptoms. His statement was a warning to sports bodies not to put their economic and legal interest over the safety of players.
"We have seen some research that athletes may be particularly vulnerable to serious symptoms," Schwab said. "The virus may get deep into the lungs, it is a virus that can cause severe damage not only to the lungs but other organs and athletes need to be at a very high level of health and fitness in order to be able to preserve their careers."
The union represents around 85,000 athletes, including many players that play in the NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, Rugby leagues, European soccer and Australian Rules football.
Also Read| Jarnail Singh: The Tough Guy of Indian Football’s Golden Era
Schwab also said that some players have been asked to sign immediately ensuring them legal and financial protection in case they fall sick. “At the same time, other sports are seeking to simply pass the legal risk of Covid-19 onto players by having them sign away their legal rights including through waivers.”
“All proposals need to be calmly and rigorously assessed by relevant experts with a clear commitment that player health and safety is not negotiable.” he added. Schwab’s full statement is available here.
The German Bundesliga, the first European League to resume football, is expected to fulfill special obligations. “We believe that those sports who want to try and go first, they do try and set the very best practices," Schwab said.
“It is crucial that athletes and players have a say in decisions that could pose a threat to their health and career.”
Read more sports stories from Newsclick