Kyle Lafferty Speaks About Gambling Addiction
by Glenn Baird - October 1, 2017
Northern Ireland international footballer, Kyle Lafferty is the most recent professional footballer to speak publicly about his gambling addiction.
Lafferty shot to fame playing for Rangers before moving to play for a number of clubs across Europe. His move to the big time saw him sign for Norwich, who were at that time a Premier League club. Lafferty was well known during his time at Rangers for scoring goals in big games against bitter rivals Celtic. However, his relationship with the Glasgow club ended on a sour note, with Lafferty raising a claim for constructive dismissal after the club went bankrupt.
Lafferty has had played 62 times for Northern Ireland, scoring 20 goals in the process. He now applies his trade in Scotland’s capital city, turning out for Hearts.
Manager of Hearts, Craig Levine has demonstrated his support for his player, stating that, “You wouldn’t have known. You wouldn’t know because he comes into the dressing room every morning with a big smile on his face; he’s the life and soul of the party. All the time.
“He also works hard on the training ground, he’s a big colourful character and he has managed to hide problems which have obviously been very serious. Obviously, he has managed to compartmentalise, if that’s the right word, and put it away for the period when he’s on the training ground or on the pitch.”
Levine goes on to say, “It’s an issue in society, that people don’t talk about their problems, isn’t it? But he’s been very brave. He has got to the point where he needs to speak to somebody and he has a good relationship with Austin, so he spoke to him, Austin spoke to myself and Ann (Budge) and then we spoke to Kyle and
Lafferty decided to go public with his addiction after speaking to former Celtic player, John Hartson who is well known to have suffered with his own gambling problems and who pushed the 30-year-old to speak out.
Speaking about his addiction Lafferty said that, “With the mindset I had, a grand was like a tenner. I knew it was against the rules to bet on football, but when you’ve got an addiction you just want to win that money back. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway.”
Lafferty was fined £23,000 in August of last year after the Football Association found him guilty of betting offences.
In a revealing interview Lafferty gave his reasons for admitting to his gambling addiction in public, “I could have got help in private and nobody would have known about it. I want to do it publicly because I want to be honest and if there are any other footballers who are addicted to gambling, then maybe me speaking about my battle might help them.”