The Federation Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPro), the global representative organization for professional footballers based in The Netherlands, has warned the soccer players would be facing health as well as mental difficulties due to the cancelation of competitions worldwide.
Due to the widespread impact of the coronavirus impact, football around the world has been brought to a standstill with several domestic leagues put on hold and the Euro 2020, Copa America, and Olympic soccer tournaments postponed for one year.
FIFPro Analysis of Professional Footballers
Professional footballers usually stay alone separated from their families and working in a high-adrenaline profession. The global players’ organization, FIFPro analyzed the present situation of the soccer players and stated that they were prone to mental health problems and their condition got worse due to the virus crisis especially women professional footballers.
FIFPro general secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffmann told Reuters TV in an interview, “Mental health is a huge consideration.” He added, “We have, from studies over the years, seen there are elevated risks for anxiety and different psychological problems for players compared to the general population because it’s tense and precarious employment for most of them and (this) makes it worse.”
With the virus-affected situation and cancelation of tournaments across the globe, even top players were struggling since their wages had been reduced to help their clubs through the crisis.
Nevertheless, FIFPro explained the situation hit hard to those players of lower leagues who often struggle to stay in the club. Baer-Hoffmann said, “We have many young individuals who are on their own, away from their home countries, they often have no family support in these countries and many of them literally have one-year employment contracts,”
FIFPro Advice to Players
A survey published by FIFPro in 2015 found, that in general, “38% of active players and 35% of former professionals faced depression or anxiety problems at some stage” of their professional career. So, the global union has been taking several initiatives to help the players such as launching a program under the title “Keep your mind sharp”.
The organization advised players often to maintain a healthy lifestyle and sleep patterns, stay connected via social media, follow a routine and take breaks, such as listening to music or watching a favorite TV show. It also reminded players to “focus on what you can control as we sometimes fixate on events outside of our control.”
Regarding the news related to the virus outbreak, FIFPro advised, “Avoid reading everything on COVID-19 in the news or on social media because this can unnecessarily amplify stress or worry.” Meanwhile, some national players’ organizations set up helplines to guide their members.
Explaining the worse consequence the crisis may bring to women soccer players especially, Baer-Hoffman said women players might face more struggle since “They are on their own, sitting in a small apartment that the club is providing with hardly any social interaction or family support nearby and that creates enormous pressure mentally.”
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