(Reuters) – Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl has ordered team hotels to block his players from having wifi access as he wants to prevent them from becoming video game addicts.
The Austrian coach, who encountered similar issues at his former club RB Leipzig, feels lengthy gaming sessions can be compared to alcohol and drug addiction.
“I think it’s something you have to force actively against and I will do this,” Hasenhuettl told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.
“I did it in my last club, we had also problems with players, they were playing until three o’clock in the morning before a game.
“You have to be active and to help protect them because it’s not a small problem because if you are honest it’s the same as alcoholism or getting addicted to drugs.”
Hasenhuettl does not believe any of his current Southampton players have a serious problems with gaming, although he will continue to monitor the situation.
“You can be sure that I’m always in contact with my captain or with a few players to speak about them,” he added.
“If it would be an illness then it would be easy for the government to say the companies have to give a block after three hours, for example, that they cannot play this game any more.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)