Swedish Professional Football Leagues along with Unibet, the main sponsor of Allsvenskan and Superettan, and the betting addict organization Spelfriheten have carried out two-thirds of all the visits to all clubs in Allsvenskan and Superettan in order to educate players and managers about the risks of gambling, where to get help and what signs to watch out for when it comes to gambling problems .
“Spelfriheten plays an important role in how we get our message out. We want everyone to know what help is available when having problems or feeling having problems”, says Anders Wikström, league integrity manager at Swedish Professional Football Leagues.
Swedish Professional Football Leagues (SEF) and Unibet have jointly taken a step forward after the Karolinska Institute’s (KI) report on gambling problems in Swedish elite football, which showed that Swedish elite football players belongs to a risk environment for gambling addiction. Not least by starting a national educational journey together with Spelfriheten with on-site lectures for players and managers in all clubs within Allsvenskan and Superettan.
“According to KI, Swedish elite football, just like the society at large, has its fair share of challenges regarding gambling for money. Therefore, we believe that this collaboration is particularly important to reach out, which we really feel we are doing. We see that the educational visits are of great benefit. We hope that we have a better situation in all clubs after all the visits are completed. Our goal is to give players and managers a greater knowledge of the back sides of games and information who to contact if you feel that you or a teammate have problems”, says Anders Wikström.
Spelfriheten is an organization that spreads knowledge about gambling addiction. It is mainly about reducing the distance to seeking help, but also about reducing the stigma surrounding the disease. So far, Spelfriheten in collaboration with Unibet and Swedish Professional Football Leagues has visited 22 out of all 32 clubs in Allsvenskan and Superettan in order to talk to them about gambling responsibility.
“Responsible gambling permeates our entire business and the collaboration with Spelfriheten is now a central part of our sponsorship of Swedish Professional Football Leagues. After two-thirds of the clubs have been visited, we can state that the education is needed and we are happy to see that it is of great benefit”, says Anders Falk, Head of Sponsorship at Unibet.
The measurements of Spelfriheten shows that the understanding of gambling problems has increased in all clubs that have been visited so far. In addition, the level of knowledge of how the clubs work internally has increased. Players and managers are more confident about where they can turn within the club for help.
“The majority of everyone who gambles does it for fun, but a few end up in unhealthy gambling. We see it as our responsibility to educate and help the people who are at risk of getting into gambling problems or who have already done so. That is what this effort is about”, says Anders Falk.
So far through this effort, Spelfriheten, Swedish Professional Football Leagues, Unibet and the clubs have been able to offer both increased knowledge and help to more people by working together, which is also the main ambition of the collaboration.
“We have already understood among our help-seekers in the past that elite sports and team sports constitute a risk environment. We have several examples of everything from football to ice hockey, floorball and handball. But the problem is also widespread in other environments where both competition and a proximity to gambling exist. Therefore, the mix of preventive work and direct help we have the opportunity to assist with now feels extra important. Thanks to that cooperation, we have succeeded in reaching both further out into society and closer to those who may need help”, says Allan Erdman, Communications Manager at Spelfriheten.
The visits to the Allsvenskan and the Superettan clubs will go on during the autumn with the ambition that all clubs will have undergone the game responsibility education before the end of the year.