Soccer Clubs Call for Blanket Betting Sponsor Ban in the UK


The United Kingdom is still on track to introduce some gambling reforms sometime this year. However, there is still a lot of pressure as more stakeholders are stepping in to push for more measures to control the influence of gambling. Recently, a group consisting of 20 English Football League (EFL) and some non-league clubs have penned a request to the government seeking to have a ban imposed on all gambling advertising in football.

The clubs in question include popular ones like Gretna FC 2008, Bolton Wanderers FC, Wyndham Athletic FC, Forest Green Rovers, Luton Town and Tranmere. Like many other parties in the United Kingdom, the leadership of these football clubs pointed out that they have witnessed a disturbing growth in gambling sponsorship and advertising in football.

In the letter that was written by the clubs, they noted that there was a better way of going about the issue of sponsorships. They are not willing to get on board with the current state of affairs especially because of their commitment to both social and ethical responsibility.

“As owners, directors, and executives responsible for our clubs, we have witnessed the harmful growth of gambling sponsorship and advertising in football, including the negative impact on our fans. A ban on gambling logos on shirts would be a significant acceptance of the harm caused, but we would encourage you to include all gambling advertising in stadiums and competition sponsorship so every young fan can go to any football match – home and away – free of inducements to gamble.”

Their recommendations included other forms of partnership which would not subject fans to the risks of gambling-related harm.

The Impact

The letter from the clubs and the campaign itself were coordinated by the Gambling With Lives campaign group. It is known for its role in championing gambling reforms in a bid to ensure a safer gambling environment.

There are some concerns that the government may eventually shy away from seemingly radical reforms but there is no telling how things will turn out. New measures and rules may seem to be geared toward crippling the industry while in the real sense the goal is to foster sustainability and safety.

Perhaps the most notable bone of contention is the issue of alternative sponsorship. This would mostly affect Premier league teams that have inked multiple sponsorship partnerships. Other sources of revenue are available and while many are not as lucrative as gambling sponsorships, football clubs have a decently-packed pool of options to choose from.

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