May 20, 2020 / 8:18 AM / 12 days ago

Soccer: Players' mental health at risk during coronavirus shutdown

(Reuters) - With soccer suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players are worried about their careers and some have become depressed and are considering self-harm, the PFA’s director of player welfare has said.

Professional soccer has been suspended since March and with no clear date set for a return, Michael Bennett says the uncertainty has led to anxiety, the Times here reported.

“They don’t know if they’re going to go back to football, they don’t know if the football season will start again, they’re not sure what’s going on,” he added.

“There are financial situations with clubs furloughing players, there is deferral of wages. We’ve got a number of players who are living from pay cheque to pay cheque and this is having a real impact on them emotionally.

“Also health issues – if we do go back to the season, can it work? Will it work? What about my family? All those sort of ‘what if?’ questions kept coming up.”

The Premier League hopes to restart the season in June with matches to be played without fans at stadiums, while the second-tier Championship clubs will vote this week on how to conclude the season.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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