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Kevin Twaddle is a professional footballer, who had a huge gambling problem: ‘I had little interest in working on my game, all I wanted to do was go and place a bet.’ Twaddle is working for PFA Scotland’s Gambling Awareness Education Programme. He tells his story.

 

Twaddle played professional football for ten years. He is a former Raith Rovers, Motherwell, St Johnstone, Greenock Morton and Hearts midfielder.

 

Recently, he has travelled with PFA Scotland to clubs throughout the country and brought a valuable real life element to the information and guidance PFA Scotland can offer on Gambling Awareness.

 

Twaddle said the following about the difficulties he faced and how it impacted upon his time as a player: ‘Gambling affected my football career in every way, be it from time keeping to my general application in training. I was totally consumed by gambling, meaning that I had little interest in working on my game after training had finished, as all I wanted to do was go and place a bet.’ 

 

‘The extent to which it impacted upon my football career can be best described by the fact that when I played away to Rangers at Ibrox Stadium, I was always more interested in the latest results being displayed on the scoreboards than in the match itself. This was so I could be aware of how the bets I had placed on matches were doing.’

 

‘My problems were excasapated further when I started to visit casinos meaning I was staying within their premises for several hours and getting little sleep prior to training.’

 

‘My gambling problems became so severe that I was moving from club to club solely for money to bail me out of the debts I was accruing while at the previous club. Ultimately teams I was with were playing with ten men as often I was not focused on the match I was playing in.’

   

Kevin Twaddle went on to describe his recent work with PFA Scotland: ‘I had been keen to try and convey my story to other footballers and having heard about PFA Scotland’s Gambling Awareness Project, I had discussions with them about working together to help educate players on betting issues.’

 

‘From my own perspective, I hope that by being honest and frank about my experiences I can encourage any players with problems to come forward.’

 

‘Undoubtedly offering players advice to try and ensure that they do not follow a similar path to me gives me great satisfaction.'

 

'I have been really impressed with the support PFA Scotland is providing players on sports betting and have enjoyed the opportunity to try and assist in this area of player welfare.’

 

‘I have no problem admitting I have regrets concerning how my gambling addiction impacted upon my career but I still love football and currently I am enjoying coaching at East of Scotland club Lothian Thistle alongside my friend Grant Carnie. In this role I am trying to encourage young players to develop their abilities and live their life the right way.’

 

 

Commenting on the issue of sports betting integrity, FIFPro Division Europe Committee Member Tony Higgins said: ‘In my work with FIFPro and our discussions with Interpol, player education is a vital element in trying to deal with the issue of match fixing. It is known that the criminal gangs who operate throughout the world try to identify players who incur massive debt through gambling and then target them. Unfortunately this type of player training is now necessary and PFA Scotland is one of the leading unions in tackling this.’

 

 

 

 

 

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