According to research released by the counselling body, Sporting Chance suggests that the number of footballers concerned about their mental health has seen a sharp rise in this last year.
464 members of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) accessed counselling services in nine months of this year, compared with 653 across all of 2019. The rise has maintained a trend that has seen the numbers increase by four times since 2016 — when the total number accessing counselling was 160.
The figures were released to coincide with mental health awareness week. The most common concerns cited by PFA members who accessed counselling, were ‘low mood’ and ‘anxiety’ followed by ‘addictive disorder-substance abuse’ and ‘gambling’. Traditional sources of stress such as the fear of the ‘transition’ from a football career, came below, ‘relationship issues’.
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Data covered by Sporting Chance revealed that during the Covid-19 pandemic many professional footballers from lower leagues faced the risk of losing their livelihood. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in mental health issues in sport, especially among men.
Heads Up, a campaign managed jointly by the Football Association (FA) and the charity Heads Together was an attempt to ‘change the conversation’ over mental health by acknowledging it to be on par with physical health. The campaign was not just an attempt to use the game to speak to men about mental health, but also of the need for the football community itself to address it. The increase in sample size for the study itself shows the message working.
DFB Tax Evasion Probe
The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office revealed that German prosecutors and tax authorities have searched the offices of the German Football Association (DFB) along with homes of current and former officials over suspicion of serious tax evasion.
Six unnamed former and current DFB officials have been suspected to have intentionally falsely claimed income from advertising inside soccer stadiums during the national team’s fixtures in 2014 and 2015 as income from asset management, which led to unpaid taxes amounting to €4.7 million ($5.52 million).
The DFB did not comment on any actions taken. The federation does not pay taxes from any income from assessment management but is obligated to pay for earning from any commercial activities.
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“Based on the investigation until now there is a suspicion that those accused knew of tax incorrectness but consciously chose it to give DFB a major tax advantage,” the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.
While the names and details of the six people were not revealed but the statement said that the DFB had signed a deal in 2013 with a Swiss Company to market its pitch side banners.
Barca Start Reducing Salaries
A source from Barcelona said the club has initiated a process to reduce the salaries of players, coaching and non-sporting staff in view of the huge losses suffered due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The staff have been notified by the clubs about the necessity of reducing costs as the club suffered a loss of €97 million ($113.98 million) in their annual financial reports, released on Monday.
The source added that employees, including players, are supposed to nominate representatives in the next two weeks to represent them in negotiations over the changes to their wages.
Barcelona suffered loss of revenues from ticket sales and the club account displayed a 14 percent drop in revenue from the previous year with net debt also doubling to 488 million euros ($574 million).
Earlier this year, in march, the club temporarily enacted a pay cut of 70 percent in wake of the pandemic. Te paycut ended in June.
Ajax Forbids African Internationals to Travel
African internationals, Mohammed Kudus, Zakaria Labyad, Noussair Mazraoui, and Lassina Traore from Burkina Faso have not been released by their club for national team duty. Ajax applied FIFA rules that permits the club to refuse the release of their players this month if they were to face a quarantine period or self isolation on their return.
Under normal circumstances, the players are released if they are called for international duty during the FIFA window but due to a sharp surge cases of Covid-19 in recent week, the world governing body announced a relaxation last week.
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Ajax affirmed that players would remain in Amsterdam and Morocco and Ghana's football associations also confirmed the absences to Reuters.
Kudus was expected to join Ghana for two internationals against Mali and Iran, to be played in Turkey. Morocco will play two friendlies against Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Burkina Faso will face Congo and Madagascar next week.
Ronaldo Breaches Isolation
Cristiano Ronaldo and four more Juventus players might face legal action for breaching coronavirus isolation following two positive cases at the club, local health authorities said on Wednesday. The five under investigation breached protocol and joined their national teams for friendlies this week.
According to media reports in Italy, Ronaldo along with other South Americans including Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Danilo and Rodrigo Bentancur left the Juventus team hotel to jon their national squads without awaiting his Covid-19 test results this week.
"The club itself told us that some players had left the place of isolation and therefore we will notify the competent authority, that is the prosecutor, of what happened," Roberto Testi, a director of the health authority in the Piedmont region said in a report by the Ansa news agency.
The entire Juventus team along with staff were put under isolation from Saturday, a process due to which players are not prevented from training or playing but prohibits their contact with the outside world. Ronaldo played in Portugal’s friendly against Spain which ended 0-0.
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