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PFA Calls for More Education for Footballers to Tackle Gambling Problems

Ben Purkiss, PFA Chairman

The Professional Football Association has called for more education for footballers to tackle gambling problems.

Ben Purkiss, the Chairman of the PFA, has said that education is the key to tackle gambling issues among footballers and has urged for footballers to receive more education on the practice.

Purkiss appeared on Sky Sports News and stated that while gambling issues may vary between football clubs, the problems need to be dealt with.

He said: “The issues and the openness around gambling vary from one dressing room to the next, it depends on the culture of the football club. To say it’s rife, yes I think it is an issue. Hopefully, this is an opportunity where we can address the issue.

He continued: “For some, there is very easy access to gambling and it will start off as a harmless hobby and then manifests itself as something that is a lot more serious. The way to tackle the problem is education. We are now getting people to go into clubs and educate the players of the pitfalls and possible issues so they can recognise when there might be a problem.

“Failing that, we have links with Sporting Chance so that players can call or attend with a councillor to help them. Senior players are there to educate people and making them aware of the problems they could potentially face it would lead to a reduction in the amount of people who are dealing with this issue.”

Football is ‘Rife’ with Gambling Problems

Purkiss’ comments come after Matt Tootle, a footballer player for Notts County, opened up about his problems with betting in a series of tweets Wednesday (September 5) and publicly revealed how it has affected his mental health.

The 27-year-old tweeted: “I think the best thing I have ever done is be open and honest about my mental health, as it’s drove (sic) me to feel prouder than ever about how I came through the darkest days and be able to help others, which is why I feel I need to be open and honest for the first time about another problem that has been part of my life since I was 16-years-old.”

He continued: “I’ve been a compulsive gambler for as long as I remember and it has brought to me some of my worst memories. Many times I have tried to quit and been unsuccessful and almost lost love (sic) ones closest to me who tried to help.”

Tootle then described his gambling problem as an “illness” before revealing he’s “one month clean from betting”. He then went on to state that gambling problems are “rife” in football and that “something needs to be done about it”.

Notts County issued a statement following Tootle’s Twitter post announcing they were working with the EFL (The English Football League) to provide support to Tootle and any other footballers facing similar problems.

If you feel you or anyone else may be suffering from a gambling addiction, visit our support page for information and helplines.