Arsenal boss Arteta opens up about players' welfare including mental health challenges

The Gunners manager took time out from his busy schedule to attend a star-studded forum in Sardinia

Arsenal boss Arteta opens up about players' welfare including mental health challenges

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta with German legend Karl-Heinze Rummenigge

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been speaking about players' welfare including mental health this week.

The Gunners manager took time out from his busy schedule to attend a star-studded forum in Sardinia discussing a raft of issues including the psychological exhaustion footballers face.

Arteta raised the issue of mental health, saying that while medical machinery can advise on physical injuries, when it comes to psychological exhaustion, it is more difficult to measure.

Speaking at the event, Arteta said: “We forget that we are only counting acute injuries, muscle injuries, that keep a player out of for three weeks, six weeks – that’s very easy to diagnose with an MRI scan.

“The problem we’re going to have is that one day that player is going to say: ‘I’m not fit to play because mentally I’m not in the right condition’. You cannot put that player into an MRI scan; so the doctor is going to have to decide whether that player is available to play the next week or in three months.

"When we have a few of those cases then what happens, because this game belongs to the players? This can happen one day and that’s my biggest worry.

"It is not just an injury of two weeks, but a much bigger problem that we can face in the future if we continue this way.”

The seminar also included Cesc Fàbregas, as well as Soriano, Maheta Molango, CEO of the Professional Footballers Association, and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and was entitled “Time to Play” which focused on player welfare and the crowded calendar.

Fabregas, as the most recently retired player within the speaker group and the most affected by the ever-increasing number of games players are being asked to play each year, admitted even though he suffered increasingly more frequent injuries later in his career, he accepts players still want to play as many matches as they can rather than training.

Next season’s calendar will be busier than ever with a revamped and expanded UEFA Champions League running from September until May and a new, month-long FIFA Club World Cup taking place in the United States during June and July.

During the five-hour forum, the continent’s key decision-makers discussed some of the most prominent issues facing the beautiful game, including financial sustainability, multi-club ownership, and the sport’s ever-growing, ever-crowded calendar. 

The event took place at the five-star Hotel Cala di Volpe in Costa Smeralda - with speakers including Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Chairman of the European Club Association and President of PSG, with three exploratory panel sessions featuring the likes of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, President of the Italian Football Federation, Gabriele Gravina, and CEO of City Football Group, Ferran Soriano.

During the event De Siervo, CEO of Serie A, discussed problems facing Italian clubs, while PSG chairman Al-Khelaifi also explained his club’s new strategy.

The event was called: From Mental Health to Multi-Club Ownership, European Football’s Key Decision-Makers Discuss Big Issues During Globe Soccer Forum

Serie A, LALIGA, Professional Footballers Association, individual clubs across the continent and various agents attend the forum in Sardinia hosted by Lega Serie A in partnership with Smeralda Holding.


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