Wed 18 Oct 2023, 17:59 · Ash Harrison

‘All the best’: Paul Merson sends message in support of Sandro Tonali amid gambling addiction

‘All the best’: Paul Merson sends message in support of Sandro Tonali amid gambling addiction
Sky Sports News screenshot via Mirror Online
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Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has come out in support of Sandro Tonali today as he says that bans for gambling help no-one.

Former Arsenal and England forward Paul Merson has battled a few demons in his time with alcohol and gambling addictions causing him a world of problems in the past.

He is therefore one of the more well-placed people to speak his mind on the current situation with Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali who this week admitted to struggling with gambling addiction.

Paul Merson has called for an end to lengthy bans for gambling addicts

It's easy to be cynical and say that he's only admitted that to play the sympathy card in the hope of a reduced ban when the investigation into his betting activity is complete, but gambling addiction is a very real thing as Merse will testify.

Taking to X this afternoon, Merson released a rambling post aimed at those who hand down these bans for what is essentially an illness.

“Just want to wish Sandro Tonali all the best from this horrible addiction and hope fifa and everyone else goes easy and to understand this is an illness and to stop throwing out big bans and to help people get help. I understand if someone is playing in a game and is betting on the other team than a ban should be imposed but people need HELP …I have had people say to me have some will power and I say next time you have the sh*ts stop it with will power …by banning people stops people asking for help please show some understanding.”

Merson's pleas will of course fall on deaf ears (blind eyes?) as that kind of change takes a long time to come to fruition.

Mark it in your calendar: today we agreed with Paul Merson

Look at how long it has taken them to phase out betting sponsors on the front of kits. Stadiums are still packed out with adverts for betting sites. In fact, Newcastle have three betting partners alone.

It is a big problem and it needs to be addressed and more sympathy does need to be shown to genuine gambling addicts within the sport.

We don't usually agree with the things Paul Merson says, but in this case, he's hit the nail on the head.