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FA Cup final renamed to incorporate Prince Williams’s ‘Heads Up’ mental health campaign | Football News

Last Updated: 11/06/20 11:06pm


This season’s FA Cup final is to be named the ‘Heads Up FA Cup final’ as Prince William continues his campaign in support of mental health.

Earlier this week, the Duke of Cambridge joined a video call with Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta, players Hector Bellerin and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and the Gunners academy manager Per Mertesacker to discuss the initiative for the match, which is provisionally scheduled for Saturday, August 1.

Arsenal hold the record for the most FA Cup wins with 13 victories to date and, during the call, the group discussed the significance of the final being dedicated to mental health and the Heads Up campaign.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says the best thing is to talk to the people around you

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says the best thing is to talk to the people around you

“We’re going to really use the final as a moment to promote good, positive mental health for everyone,” the Duke said.

“It’s quite timely bearing in mind what we’ve all been through with this pandemic. I think there’s going to be, sadly, a lot of repercussions from this in society, not just in football, in terms of people’s mental health. Hopefully the FA Cup can be a bit of a pivot that people can rally around.”

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Arteta said: “You have to create a safe environment for them to be able to talk to you directly without feeling judged, or [worrying] whether that’s going to have consequences for them, whether they’re going to play or not, or my feelings towards them.

Per Mertesacker is Arsenal's academy manager and admits he found it hard to talk to people in the past

Per Mertesacker is Arsenal’s academy manager and admits he found it hard to talk to people in the past

“This is what I’ve been trying to do over the last 12 weeks, by trying to talk individually so they can raise those feelings, their issues, and we can build the club culture that I want, which is based on respect.”

Mertesacker, who also played for Arsenal for seven years, said: “I was not comfortable speaking with certain individuals because I thought I needed to be strong, resistant and resilient, and deal with any kind of circumstances.

“Nowadays, there are more mechanisms than ever to start a conversation, and to give players tools to really cope with it.”

Striker Aubameyang said: “I think the most important thing is to be next to them, to try to speak a lot with them, [and] to give them all the space they need for talking, because I think the best thing is to talk, and to discuss problems.”

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