Nearly 10% of Premier League and EFL players said they had experienced bullying during their careers, according to a survey from the Professional Footballers’ Association.
In addition, almost 5% had suicidal thoughts.
The data highlights the social and mental health challenges players face.
“These are stark figures that illustrate how serious these issues are in the game,” said the PFA’s director of player wellbeing Dr Michael Bennett.
Seventy-nine out of 843 male players in the Premier League and EFL surveyed across the course of last season said they had been bullied at some point in their professional life.
Forty said they had experienced thoughts about taking their own life in the three months prior to completing the survey.
Ninety-eight players (12%) said they had felt pressured into getting vaccinated against Covid-19 or felt emotional distress about it.
The data was gathered at wellbeing workshops held at clubs by the PFA during the 2021-22 season.
It found 189 of the players – more than one-fifth – had experienced severe anxiety.
“It could be peer-on-peer bullying, for example, from team-mates in the dressing room or training ground,” Dr Bennett said on the bullying figures. “It could be by club staff or management.
“We are particularly concerned around transfer windows. We know that players can be isolated from their squads when a club is trying to force a move. We are often dealing with cases like this.
“Ultimately, whether it is the training ground or the stadium on a matchday, it’s a player’s workplace. They have a right to feel protected and safe at work. It feels obvious to state, but any form of bullying will have a lasting impact on an individual’s mental health.”