Underperforming soccer stars: Blame it on `gambling`

Washington : A new study has suggested that top soccer players are under-performing because of gambling.

Players are also using online betting sites to conceal their gambling from their partners, the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Birmingham was told on April 7, 2016.

Graeme Law of the University of Chester interviewed 34 current and former professional football players, including international and Premiership players as well as those in lower leagues.

Players talked about how worries caused by gambling, usually poker games on the coach or at hotels before matches, had impaired performances on the pitch.

“Players gamble as a way of relieving the boredom on journeys to away games and after training on pre-season tours,” said Law, adding “Contrary to popular opinion, their actions are heavily regulated and constrained, so they get easily bored.”

But gambling losses could affect their performance. Law noted that players were unable to function to the level expected, and this leads to resentment in the team about their gambling.

One Premiership player told Law: “I have lost a lot and I had a stinker because it’s all I thought about during the game,” while another Premiership player said of a team-mate: “On the way to the game he lost about two grand, and he was only 18. Now he had a shocker in the game.”

One former Championship player said: “I have seen a lot of players lose a lot of money and when they get to the game they have a bad experience or a bad game…when I became a manager I tried to ban cards…but you can’t really stop it.”

Law told the sociology conference that players turned to online gambling to keep their habit secret from their partners. Previous gambling environments were more social and encouraged group interaction, whereas the internet now allows gambling to be done in private. (ANI)