Tuesday 21 November 2017

Three in four footballers say depression is an issue

Martyn Ziegler

MORE than three-quarters of professional players in England and Scotland say depression is a problem for footballers, according to a new survey.

Little more than year after the death of Gary Speed, who suffered from depression, a survey by Four Four Two magazine of 100 players showed the condition is a problem for many.

The survey also revealed that 26% of those questioned had witnessed racism in the game, while 14% believed match-fixing takes place, though it did not state at what level in the game or whether domestically or internationally.

In terms of depression, one League One player told the magazine: "It can affect a lot of players. I know because I have been there.

"The easy route was to give up the game completely - I was in a dark place."

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said his organisation was devoting a lot of resources to tackling depression.

He told Press Association Sport: "It is an issue we have been dealing with now for some time and we are looking to ensure that people are aware of what support systems there are.

"We have a network of advisers and our own counselling service at the PFA as well."

The survey also revealed that 43% of those questioned said there were too many foreign players in English football, 62% insisted a gay player would not be an outcast in the game and 50% agreed that recreational drugs were used by some footballers.

Only 13% of those questioned believe performance-enhancing drugs are used.

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