Quinn warns player depression crisis will get worse
Niall Quinn has delivered a stark warning to the FAI, English FA and the 20 Premier League clubs that football is on the verge of being hit by a self-destructive crisis.
Having spent 20 years as a player with Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland, and five as Sunderland's chairman, Quinn (pictured) has seen numerous players suffer from depression and addiction and reckons that the game's inflated wages will bring about a glut of fresh problems. And Quinn has challenged the game's governing bodies, particularly the FAI and English FA, to put measures in place to help players cope with the negative issues which surround professional sport.
"Footballers have always had problems with depression or addiction," said Quinn, "but those problems are deeper embedded in the game now, both here and in England. And I think it is going to get worse. Young players now are so far removed from the real world in terms of the money they earn and the age they are earning it at.
"These players are going to crash quicker and harder than (their predecessors). And if they suffer from depression, they go that bit lower than the ordinary person." And Quinn said he believes the FAI need to do more to address these issues. "The FAI have their plans, and I don't want to be hard on them unnecessarily. They have their Emerging Talent Programmes for example. That is fine in the education of football but I would love if we were collectively sending players over to England like the Belgians, not at the age of 16 but at 19 or 20, when they are more mature."
The FAI did not formally respond to Quinn's comments last night.