Peter Schmeichel: “Gambling can be a little fun as long as people are wary”

Goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel will be co-hosting this year’s SBC Awards alongside Kirsty Gallacher on Tuesday 4 December.

Just a few weeks before the event, which returns to The Artillery Garden at the HAC, we caught up with him to discuss his dalliance with the gambling industry through Tipico, the size of the market in his native Denmark, and a growing friendship with Oliver Kahn.

SBC: Hello Peter, we are pleased you can join us for our celebrations next month. You’ve worked with the gambling industry in the past?

PS: I was an ambassador for Tipico in Denmark. Apart from being a lot of fun for me, it also contained the right message as far as I am concerned. The way I see it is that people can place bets, some small bets and some serious bets, but that doesn’t mean they will eventually have a gambling problem.

Gambling can be a little fun as long as people are wary. I think we were successful in communicating that you can have a bit for fun with betting, but we were also very, very strong in our message that betting can be compulsive and you have to be careful. You have to bet with your head and be sensible about it.

SBC: Denmark is quite a big betting market, isn’t it?

PS: Denmark is incredible. It’s a small country but all the betting companies love Denmark because we like a bet, but it’s also a very challenging market because the state lottery had an advantage for a long time. The other firms now have an opportunity to do business there.

SBC: Your trophy cabinet is huge with lots of great achievements – but do you have any moments you don’t look back on fondly? A goal conceded that still niggles?

PS: I don’t really think like that to be honest. I don’t look back and think there’s something I didn’t do right. There are some goals that are frustrating though, such as Spain scoring against Denmark on my 30th birthday when it was a clear foul on me. Everyone in the world who has seen it will agree it was a foul, except for the referee. They scored, we lost 1-0 and we didn’t go to the World Cup, so obviously that one was very, very annoying.

SBC: The adverts you did with Oliver Kahn and Tipico were great, and you seem to have been in some memorable ones. One for Danish bacon stands out particularly…

PS: It wasn’t fun for me that one. Obviously back then I was playing so I didn’t have the time to put a lot of energy into finding out what my team had signed me up to do. I turned up on the day and I realised that I was supposed to sing, which no-one had told me. I was really embarrassed about it. Needless to say I won’t be singing at the Awards.

But I did really enjoy the shoots we did with Tipico. I really loved them. They had ideas, they had imagination, they were relevant and we had a really good time doing them. It showed in the end product too as it was high, high quality. It wasn’t showing anyone off in a bad light and it still had the required message and intended result.

SBC: You seem to have a good chemistry with Oliver Kahn in the adverts. Were you friendly during your playing days?

PS: In playing times you are focused on the next match in front of you. Then you move onto the next one and then the next one. You don’t really pay too much attention to the people you are playing against in those teams.

But it’s when you aren’t playing any more and you meet up in different scenarios, be it work through the media or commercial events, and you end up connecting socially around these.

It’s through things like this that me and Ollie became really good friends and we had a great time doing those shoots.

This summer I was in Russia for the World Cup and the number of former players working there is huge. While these are people you don’t really know you still have a bit of a shared history. And then you get to know them and within minutes you are friends. I really enjoy this part of my life now.

SBC: Good to hear, Peter. Hopefully you’ll have as much fun at the SBC Awards next month.

PS: I hope so! See you there.

If you are interested in meeting Peter Schmeichel at the SBC Awards, please contact [email protected] for ticket and table bookings for the event.

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