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Gareth Bale on player welfare: ”Everyone understands that money plays a big role”

Gareth Bale decided to bid farewell to football after a magnificent career. The Welshman seemed to have lost his joy for the game. In an interview with Sky News, he discusses his life after football, the increasing pressure on players, the increasingly crowded football schedule, and the negative role of the media concerning sustainability.

Gareth Bale

”I’m enjoying time being at home with the family and spending more time with the kids,” says Gareth Bale. ”I’m enjoying life to be honest. It’s nice to take a step back and just relax, do some of the things that I’ve always wanted to do like spending time with my family, going out a bit, and playing golf. That’s nice. Since I was sixteen, I have been on the first team. So, since then, there has always been pressure on me, and since I stepped back, the pressure has just relieved a bit. So it’s been good.”

Player welfare

Increasing pressure is only mounting on the football players states the 34-year-old. “I can only speak as a player. There are a lot of games in a season. The intensity and quickness are increasing, making it very difficult to sustain high performance. When the level drops, scrutiny follows. Everyone understands that money plays a big role—more games mean more money. It’s difficult for player welfare. As a player, you want to play as many games as possible without risking. It’s a very fine line, but hopefully, everybody can come together to a right solution for player welfare. The number of fixtures is increasing, placing more demands on players. Hopefully, change doesn’t require a bad thing to happen. It’s about finding a balance that benefits the business of clubs and the amount of games in term of player welfare. We need to unite and avoid excessive greed.”

Lewis Hamilton

Lastly, Bale is asked about the role of the football world in sustainability. ”It’s difficult to make big changes, but it’s about making those small changes. When clubs and individuals strive to do the right things, I believe the media have a responsibility to highlight the positive actions rather than focusing on the negatives. Take Lewis Hamilton, for example. He made such a massive effort to change his environment and act responsibly. However, people often overlook his hard work and instead criticize him for small things, such as driving an F1 car which emits CO2. It’s important to recognize the good he is doing. It’s massive that he has made such a big change, but the scrutiny he faced was unfair.”