PCA members empowered with Sporting Chance


The Professional Cricketers’ Association has teamed up with Sporting Chance Clinic as part of their responsibility to protect the welfare of their current playing members ahead of the 2019 season, including the Essex squad at The Cloudfm County Ground this week.

Sporting Chance Founder and former Arsenal and England football captain Tony Adams delivered the most recent session, with the campaign focused on the subject of recreational drug use, to the senior Essex squad on Wednesday, with all 18 first-class squads, as well as the England Women, receiving the educational workshops.

The talks have been funded by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust as part of their role in providing support for PCA members and their families when they need it most, as the players’ charity increases its preventative outlook on providing assistance for professional cricketers in England and Wales.

In recent years, the Trust has funded nationwide seminars on the risks of gambling and drive safety courses, which the PCA Personal Development and Welfare Programme facilitated through expert providers.

The Programme is one of the association’s core activities with trained Personal Development Managers (PDMs) providing support and guidance to players on a variety of issues such as education, career and family whilst keeping their cricketing focus.

All first-class counties are supported by six regional PDMs and their aim is to work closely with the players, coaches and support staff to minimise potential concerns and distractions, which could adversely affect a player’s career. One of these areas is the PCA’s recreational drugs policy.

The PCA started working with Sporting Chance in 2018, a charity which was created in 2000 by Adams. He started the charity to address the difficulties he experienced as a player in accessing professional and confidential support for his drinking problem. The charity still exclusively treats current and retired professionals from a range of sports including football (through its longstanding relationship with the Professional Footballers’ Association), rugby league and cricket through the PCA.

The charity has three departments: a residential clinic treating addictive disorders (gambling, alcohol and other drugs), a national network of counsellors and therapists that offers talking therapies for a diverse range of mental health issues and an education department that delivers seminars to staff and players at clubs and governing bodies across sport in the UK.

In each session, Sporting Chance share their experience of the issue of recreational drugs as a treatment provider, explore the reasons that lead athletes to take recreational drugs and the consequences of both isolated and long-term use (including addiction).

As part of the hour-long workshops, every player hears a personal account of recreational drug use from a former professional sportsperson, the problems their drug use caused and how they overcame these problems by reaching out for help.

PCA Director of Development and Welfare Ian Thomas said:

“Educating our members on areas which could adversely affect their careers and lives is of paramount importance to the PCA so these seminars are very important.

“I would like to thank the Professional Cricketers’ Trust for funding this initiative which underlines their commitment in proactive support of our players, without the continued support of the charity and everyone who donates to this worthwhile cause the Personal Development and Welfare Programme would not be as extensive as it is.

“To have Tony Adams and the Sporting Chance Clinic team visit our players has been inspirational and I have no doubt these engaging sessions will reinforce our messaging on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle during and post cricket.”

Sporting Chance Founder Adams said:

“Cricket has now come on board with what we’re doing and that’s great.

“The PCA have been very enthusiastic and supportive of the process and we’re going round to all 18 counties to share the work that we do at Sporting Chance.

“The education that we’re putting forward to professional athletes is there to allow them to talk openly about their feelings and we’re here to educate the players and sow seeds with the players, it’s as simple as that really.”