Football fans should be wary of the harms linked to gambling as they place bets ahead of England’s Euro 2024 quarter-final match, leading psychiatrists have said.

Gareth Southgate’s squad are preparing for the tie against Switzerland on Saturday, writes Ella Pickover from PA.

With anticipation mounting around the game, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has sounded the alarm over potential gambling harms linked to big tournaments and sporting events, such as the Euros and the upcoming Olympics.

Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones, from the college’s Faculty of Addictions Psychiatry, said: “Major sporting events are a time when many fans place bets on their favourite teams.

“If not kept in control, this can lead to the development of a gambling addiction or trigger those who already have a gambling disorder to relapse.

“The Euros will inevitably act as a trigger for many people who may fall into a harmful cycle where they repeatedly place bets they cannot afford. Sadly, the end result can be that people are put at risk of losing their home, relationships and even their jobs.”

She added: “It’s vital we recognise that gambling disorder is a mental illness which has a devastating impact on individuals and their families. Hundreds of suicides are estimated to be linked to gambling harm each year, while many other people experience severe depression and anxiety.

“This is a public health issue and can be avoided, yet people often don’t seek help because they’re embarrassed or afraid. We need to open discussion around gambling harms, as suffering in silence only puts people at greater risk of mental ill-health and financial insecurity.

“Anyone who suspects they may have a problem should reach out to their GP as soon as possible.

“It’s also important people take steps to prevent themselves from gambling online and in person by putting self-exclusion agreements in place. They may find it useful to install blocking software which stops them from accessing gambling websites.”