Kyle Lafferty, the Heart of Midlothian striker, has recently admitted that, for some time, he is struggling with a serious gambling addiction and the news has quickly spread on the internet and social media. Recently, the owner of Hearts, Ann Budge, stated that she strongly believes that Lafferty is fully aware of the risks he is being exposed through his gambling problems. She added that he has total backing of the team and the entire staff and that it takes a lot of courage to do what he did.
Signing with Hearts
In the same interview, Ann was asked if she would’ve taken a different decision regarding the signing of Lafferty if she had known about the issues he was facing, the owner of the football club stated that right before meeting with him, he did a Google search and was able to find out some of the not-so-good parts of his career and life until now. Budge is completely aware that the addiction Kyle is facing is not something that it will just go away, however, she is pleased that the player is at the stage where he understands how serious the issue is. It seems that Kyle has complete support from the owner of the football club as she declared she’s well aware that nobody is completely ‘white’ and that everyone has a little bit of history.
Opening Up is Never Easy
Just as Budge pointed out, coming to the club and asking for help was a huge step for Kyle and by doing so he has earned a lot of respect from the people involved. Lafferty plays for the Hearts since June and managed to score ten goals for the Scottish team but his on-field performances were shadowed by the 23000 pounds fine she received from the FA for betting on two football matches from the Spanish league. Apart from that, he is constantly betting on horse racing and even online slots like Starspins but the recent cry for help may indicate a change in this behavior. He has opened up to the owner of the club, the manager, their coach, the manager of the national team and a former Celtic striker, John Hartson.
Finding the strength to make this decision was, probably, the hardest thing he had to do, considering that such gambling addictions usually affects the family as well. However, as it is often stated in Psychology manuals, the first step in dealing with an issue is acknowledging it. This move from Kyle comes as a statement to the great character and footballer he is and the fact that he managed to stay on track with his career even in these circumstances, is even more impressive.
Gambling as A General Issue in the Scottish Football
The PFA Scotland strongly advises any football player that is having suspicions about a colleague of theirs that might be dealing with addiction issues to try and lead them towards seeking help at their 24-hour toll-free national line. The link between athletes and gambling problems is not necessarily something that psychologist study in particular. However, being involved in sports and having a bit of inside knowledge of how things work might lead professional athlete that they have a better chance with gambling then the rest of us. When you add a higher-than-average salary to the mix, the situation can become really complicated. That’s why, all over the UK, there are a lot of non-profit organizations and state-initiated programs to help the ones dealing with gambling issues, a problem that is on a continuous rise according to the studies.
What does the future hold for Lafferty?
Kyle himself will be the beneficiary of this very organized system that aims to reduce the number of people suffering from gambling issues and help them live a normal, addiction-free life. The fact that he is a well-known football player in Scotland, makes things easier and harder at the same time. Even so, with all the support of the staff, his team-mates, the owner of the club and even the manager of the national team, Lafferty should be able to finally let go of the problems that are haunting him for so long now and manage to have a very beautiful end of career.