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Around 120 footballers addicted to drugs, gambling – EPL PFA reveals

Around 120 footballers addicted to drugs, gambling – EPL PFA reveals

About 120 current and retired footballers are addicted to drugs or gambling, shocking new figures have revealed.

Just last week, Dele Alli opened up on his addiction to sleeping pills, admitting he’s recently out of rehab during a heartfelt interview with Gary Neville.

But it seems Alli is not alone in his struggles following the latest statistics from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) which state that about 120 current and retired players are known to be receiving treatment for drugs and gambling obsession.

At least 600 top footballers — from across all pro leagues — are said to be also suffering from anxiety, depression, stress and suicidal tendencies.

But the latest figures from the PFA figures for the 2021/22 season have revealed a major upturn in players seeking help privately.

According to their report, 77 players checked into rehab during the 2021-22 season, with substance addiction one of the most common causes.

The figures were a third higher than the previous season, when 59 players allegedly required help.

Meanwhile, the Premier League disclosed that a rising number of elite players were getting hooked on sleeping pills, with others turning to prescription drugs such as Zopiclone and Zolpidem.

The PFA is helping to tackle the issue alongside the Sporting Chance charity who have increased the availability of residential care for footballers and other athletes.

Seven players reportedly received psychiatric assessments last year, with the PFA now providing mental health workshops for every club across the top tiers of English football.

Medics carried out 1,000 player mental health assessments at 50 clubs across the top four divisions, including the Premier League and 35 footballers were sent to residential rehab for a period of several weeks or more.

Speaking about his struggles with addiction, Alli said on The Overlap: “I got addicted to sleeping tablets, it’s a problem not only I have. It’s going around more than people realise in football.

“Now is probably the right time to tell people. It’s tough to talk about it as it’s quite recent and something I’ve hid for a long time and I’m scared to talk about.

“When I came back from Turkey I came back and found out I needed an operation.

“I was in a bad place mentally. I decided to go to a modern rehab facility that deals with addiction and mental health and trauma. I felt it was time for me.

“You can’t be told to go there, you have to make the decision yourself.”


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