London, 29 July 2022: Young footballers playing for English Football League clubs will have access to education on video gaming harms during the upcoming season, thanks to a partnership between the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) and League Football Education (LFE).
Following a successful 3-month pilot last season, the YGAM programme has been added to the LFE’s Player Care Guide for the 2022/23 campaign. EFL clubs can now enrol their academy players on the charity’s specialist workshop to help increase awareness and safeguard against harms related to gaming.
A 2019 report published by the Children’s Commissioner revealed that 93% of children in the UK play video games. Recent COVID19 lockdown conditions have seen an unprecedented boom in home entertainment, with the value of the UK video gaming market now a third higher than in 2019.
Established in 2004 by the English Football League and the Professional Footballers Association, LFE deliver the ‘life skills’ programme to U9-U23 players, as well as parents and club staff. This life skills programme covers emotional well-being, equality & diversity, finance, cardiac and sexual health awareness, social media, talent transfer, resilience, personal development, and lifestyle.
Former Watford and Preston North End striker, Marvin Sordell, is a YGAM ambassador and he has previously spoken publicly about the need for football clubs to talk to young players about gaming. He said “If you take the likes of FIFA, you get really hooked in things like Ultimate Team and purchasing add-ons. I was a person at that young age who got into a habit of just playing to open these packs (loot boxes) because of the hit of dopamine you get from getting one of the big players – or something else exciting. It’s something that needs to be looked at and addressed.”
Last season, YGAM delivered 13 pilot sessions to 9 different clubs including Barnsley FC, Nottingham Forrest & Bristol Rovers. These initial sessions reached 271 academy footballers.
Feedback following these sessions found that 100% of Player Care Managers would recommend the YGAM workshop, 100% of 11–16-year-olds agree that their knowledge about risks of gaming harms improved after completing the workshop and 86% of 16+ players agreed that their knowledge about risks of gaming improved. One young player said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, it was about one of my biggest interests and it was very engaging”.
Sacha Kent, National Education Manager at YGAM said; “Working alongside LFE to be able to offer direct delivery to young players around such an important subject is a fantastic opportunity, particularly at a time where online activity has increased over the past years. It’s also a great chance for us to learn from the participants about their insight, experiences, and thoughts about video games.”
Speaking about the partnership, Life Skills Manager at the LFE, Si Williams said; ““The need for education and support surrounding gaming is a must and this partnership with YGAM allows for that to happen for the young people within our care. With such a rise in online activity, there is a resulting impact and it is important that academies have the opportunity to help players understand what that is.”
All the educational resources developed by YGAM are evidence-led and independently evaluated. You can find out more about YGAM’s portfolio of programmes here or get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.