Buffon: Betting allegations tarnished me, but I was innocent

The Italian National Team’s Chief Delegate, Gianluigi Buffon, has spoken out on the sensitive issue of gambling within football circles. In an interview with ‘Corriere della Sera’, the veteran goalkeeper expressed strong views on both the act of gambling itself and its potential consequences.

Buffon said that while it’s crucial to penalise footballers gambling on matches, distinctions need to be drawn. He went as far as saying: “Betting in itself is not a crime; our stadiums and sports broadcasts are full of advertising for betting apps, and the state encourages gambling.”

If a footballer wagers on football itself, they should rightfully face consequences, he said. However, if betting on other sports, like volleyball, basketball, or dog racing, Buffon maintains that it isn’t criminal.

The seasoned footballer acknowledged the issue of problem gambling, addressing it in the context of the time dedicated to gambling, rather than the amount spent. He stated, ‘we need to explain to our boys; it’s not ok to spend hours in front of betting apps placing continuous €1 bets.’

He went on to say that spending large amounts on a single occasion does not necessarily indicate a gambling problem. “You might think they’re foolish, but the issue of addiction arises from the dependency and constancy of placing bets,” Buffon opined.

Concluding, Buffon criticised those who judge superficially without knowing the real motivations, referring to previous incidents where he claimed to have been unfairly treated. He condemned those who brand people without understanding the complexities behind gambling, describing such stigmatization as ‘profoundly wrong’.

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