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Russell Martin: Swansea head coach reveals gambling pain

Russell Martin: Swansea head coach reveals gambling pain

Russell Martin
Swansea boss Russell Martin grew up in Brighton

Swansea City head coach Russell Martin says he welcomes Premier League clubs withdrawing gambling sponsorship from the front of their matchday shirts.

The Swans boss says his father lost the family home over a gambling addiction when Martin was eight years old.

Ex-Scotland defender Martin believes the impact of gambling is “horrific,” and says he has also seen it negatively impact some of his former team-mates.

“I hate it [gambling]. I really don’t like it,” Martin explained.

“I had to move house when I was eight years old because my dad lost the house because he was a gambling addict.

“Then, we moved to a house opposite the bookmakers, which was really good for my dad, but not very good for the rest of us.

“The impact it could have on a good day – winning loads of money – and then the impact it can have negatively when losing, was horrific.

“Having to live with that atmosphere in your household all the time is really tough.”

Martin says he welcomes any move to curtail gambling advertisements in football.

Premier League clubs have collectively agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of their matchday shirts by the end of the 2025-26 season.

After the deadline, clubs will still be able to continue featuring gambling brands in areas such as shirt sleeves and LED advertising.

Eight top-flight clubs currently have gambling companies on the front of their shirts, worth an estimated £60m per year.

“I’ve never been into it and I really don’t like it. It makes me feel really uneasy if I’ve even gone to the horses for a day and it’s just a casual thing,” he said.

“I have seen the effect it can have on people.

“Having to stand outside a bookmakers for three hours when you’re supposed to be going somewhere, is really tough.

“And having also seen the effect it has had on some of my team-mates over the years as well, I really welcome it.

“I think there’s enough money in the Premier League right now for everyone to function and to sustain themselves, and to enjoy themselves a little bit.”

Martin, who manages Swansea in the Championship, a division sponsored by a betting company, says he expects to be criticised for his views on banning gambling advertisements but believes it is a social issue.

“I’m not convinced they need the extra money that you get from it – albeit, I’m aware we’re in a competition that’s sponsored by a betting company, so I’ll probably get criticised for that,” he added.

“We are talking about social responsibility for such a worldwide product. It needs to do its bit.

“So the fact that they’re finally doing that is good and I’m pretty sure all the clubs involved will go and find a sponsor that is willing to give them, if not as much money, then somewhere close.”

Support for addiction issues is available via the BBC Action Line.

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