Jeff Stelling leads emotional speech on Gillette Soccer Saturday on effects of eating disorders
Long-established sport presenter Jeff Stelling broke down in tears on his penultimate Soccer Saturday show this weekend. At the end of April, Stelling announced he will be vacating his role as host of Sky Sports Soccer Saturday after almost thirty years of service.
However, as the Premier League campaign is set to come to an end, Stelling used his remaining minutes on the show to promote awareness around Mental Health Awareness Week. The presenter talked specifically about the dangers of eating disorders and a lack of awareness surrounding the condition.
He said: “This is a difficult topic, it’s my second last show so I’m going to have my final sort of rant if you like. I’ve got to be careful to get it right
“There was a march this morning, this relates to [anorexia sufferer] Abby Davies actually. There was a march this morning in central London by the people who run the “Dump The Scales” campaign. It’s led by the indefatigable Hope Virgo every year.
“More people die from eating disorders every year than any other mental illness. The Government’s lack of awareness and funding is a national disgrace. They decided to put calories for goodness sake on people’s menus.”
Stelling is addressing the bill passed by Department of Health and Social Care in 2021, which requires out-of-home food businesses to display calorie information on menus and food labels. The policy has been criticised for negatively impacting people struggling with an eating disorder.
Stelling continues: “Up to 20 per cent of all eating disorder cases end in death and the cycle goes like that.
Abby, a football reporter on Sky Sports, said: “Boy, girl, woman, man, goes for help, they are told they are not thin enough, they are not underweight enough to need treatment.
“They go away, they lose more weight, they go further and deeper into the mental morass that they’re in. They have suicidal tendencies. They are then told ‘You are now too thin to be treated’ and are offered palliative care for god’s sake.
“So we’re not going to help you but we will try and ensure you die comfortably. It’s 2023…”
Holding back tears, Jeff said: “Eating disorders are being swept under the carpet. No one should be dying of an eating disorder in 2023. Those with eating disorders need action and help and they need it now.”
The Soccer Saturday presenter struggled to contain his emotion and the programme subsequently cut to adverts.