Film highlights plight of Sunday footballers

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The charity Mind has partnered with the global football fan organisation COPA90 to commission a short film to raise awareness of the mental harm the lockdown can do to amateur soccer players.

 As two million Sunday footballers count the days down to March 29 when they can take to the field again, the movie, Sunday, by Manchester-based film maker and amateur footballer Charlie Watts, poignantly portrays the desolate landscape of deserted football pitches, and the players who long to be there once more.

Available on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the powerful imagery shot at various pitches in the North West of England captures the emotion, the forlorn venues and the longing for the lost camaraderie of the young men and women who live for the weekend kick about and whose mental health has been affected by its absence, even to the point of attempting suicide.

You can see the three-minute film here via Twitter, @Copa90.

“I wanted to represent the voices of millions of players up and down the country who like me have desperately missed the feeling of community and connection that Sunday League football brings” said watts. “The enforced break has helped to crystalise what we really love about the game and all it brings, which we have told through the number of voices heard in the film.

“I truly hope the film helps to highlight the importance of an honest discourse about mental health, where we can all play a role for our team inside and out of the dressing room.”

During the first lockdown Mind surveyed 16,000 people about the impact that Covid-19 was having on their mental health. Almost half (49 %) of adults and over half (52%) of young people said their mental health had worsened because they weren’t able to play sport or exercise.

“Through our work with COPA90, the EFL, and other partners in the game we know the power football can have to improve mental health, from grass-roots through to elite level” said Mind’s head of sport, Hayley Jarvis. “While all forms of physical activity can boost your mental wellbeing, the camaraderie and strong social element of team sports, like football, can be particularly beneficial. Having a group of people around you who regularly check in on you and motivate you to get out for a kick about, even if you’re not feeling your best, can make a huge difference.

COPA90’s chief creative officer Gav Rowe added: “We are incredibly proud to work with Mind and to collaborate with the talented Charlie on a subject matter that is now more important than ever. We didn’t just want to make a film for those who aren’t feeling great, and it’s okay to not feel ok, for us it was important to make a film for those people who are coping too, reminding them of their mate who might be alone right now too.”


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