Svensk Elitfotboll launches a collaboration with Unibet and Spelfrihen to highlight a social problem
Svensk Elitfotboll, together with Unibet, is launching a collaboration with the organisation Spelfriheten.
Problem gambling is a social problem that is now classified as a public health issue. According to a recent study commissioned by the Swedish Elite Football Association and conducted by STAD/KI, elite athletes are at a greater risk of unhealthy gambling than the normal population. The researchers’ proposed measures primarily concern education, clarification of policies and independent contact points. The ambition is to raise gambling-related issues among players and managers for both a proactive purpose and a therapeutic, reactive purpose for those in need of help.
“It feels great that with the researchers’ proposal as a basis, we are now taking the next step in our integrity work and in our support for our clubs and their staff.”Anders Wikström, integrity manager at Svensk Elitfotboll
The Swedish Elite Football Association and Unibet have therefore developed a collaboration with Spelfriheten, an organisation that works with education and treatment on gambling and gambling addiction. In the future, a number of efforts will be made to inform and educate clubs in Allsvenskan and Superettan and their staff on issues related to unhealthy gambling.
“Unibet and Swedish Elite Football have a shared zero vision against both match fixing and unhealthy gambling. Therefore, it feels good and responsible that we within the partnership complement our existing efforts with the parts that Spelfriheten can now assist with. Research shows that elite football players are a riskier group in terms of gambling problems. So, education and lectures are another step in taking responsibility in our sponsorship primarily, but also for a healthier gambling industry in general.”Anders Falk, Head of Sponsorship at Unibet Sweden
Some of the efforts that will be made towards clubs in 2023 are lectures for all 32 clubs’ players and managers on gambling addiction, training of the clubs’ Integrity Officers and the development of a policy on gambling.
“It feels great that we will now work together with Svensk Elitfotboll and Unibet. I and several of my colleagues have experience from both team sports and from being addicted to gambling. We are convinced that we will be able to make a big difference through the prevention and treatment work.It has always been important for us to emphasise the importance of collaborating with all stakeholders in the industry in order to really make a difference. Therefore, this feels incredibly positive, where sports, the gambling industry and we as a gambling addiction organisation make common cause and both prevent and work with those who have developed a gambling addiction.”Adam Reuterswärd, market and client coordinator at Spelfriheten
The collaboration between Svensk Elitfotboll, Unibet and Spelfriheten
Together Svensk Elitfotboll, Unibet and Spelfriheten will lecture to all 32 clubs in Allsvenskan and Superettan about gambling addiction. Svensk Elitfotboll has purchased a licence for Spelfriheten’s support line where, if gambling problems are discovered in the clubs, there is an initial contact within 24 hours. It is incredibly important to get help quickly as the motivation window for an addict to seek help can be very short.
Spelfriheten will annually train the clubs’ Integrity Officers in issues related to gambling and will assist Svensk Elitfotboll in formulating a developed policy on gambling that the clubs can use in their everyday lives. If gambling problems or gambling addiction are discovered, Spelfriheten offers a 16-month treatment programme that clubs can choose to use.