Prince William slams football clubs
Prince William has launched a withering broadside at football clubs, lambasting them for a “dereliction of duty” in their lack of care for players’ mental health.
Prince William, who along with younger brother Prince Harry have spoken openly about their own mental health issues, said clubs appeared to only see the players as investments not as human beings.
Prince William, who is the President of English football’s governing body the Football Association (FA), made the remarks during a meeting at Windsor Park, the home of the Irish Football Association in Belfast.
“Some clubs don’t do anything about mental health. We’ve got to change the whole way we look after players,” the 36-year-old Prince said to members of Ahead of the Game, an organisation that delivers mental health support to grassroots football clubs.
“Many players come from difficult backgrounds and may have all sorts of issues going on.
So just to have them as a complete financial asset…it’s a dereliction of duty, I think.”
Prince William, who decried the manner in which players are “discarded” and said they should be “supported” instead of the clubs wiping their hands of them and told to “move on”, said he was in talks with the FA over the possibility of organising a “Mental Health FA Cup”.
“We’re working on something with the FA at the moment, trying potentially to get a mental health FA Cup to have a really punchy campaign we can base something around,” said the Prince, who is a noted supporter of second tier English side Aston Villa.
Prince William’s rare outspoken comments drew praise from across the football community including Michael Bennett, the Professional Footballers’ Association’s head of welfare.
It emerged last year a record number of players approached the body for support with mental health problems.
“Clearly, not everyone is earning £100,000 ($133,000) a week,” said Bennett.
Former Wales star Robbie Savage said Prince William’s remarks would hopefully prompt the clubs to be more caring of those they let go.
“It can only be a good sign Prince William, who genuinely cares for the game, is taking such an interest,” Savage told the Daily Mirror.
“This summer, dozens of teenagers who dream of a career in professional football will be released –- and it’s important that they are not simply left to pick up the pieces.”