SBC News Premier League to agree on betting shirt sponsorship phase-out 

Premier League to agree on betting shirt sponsorship phase-out 

Premier League club bosses are likely to settle on betting sponsorships no longer appearing on the front of team shirts.

The decision was reported yesterday evening by BBC News as pressure mounts on the Premier League to end its relationship with betting and gambling.  

The government had previously granted Premier League clubs the right to settle its sponsorship terms with gambling operators – a decision that was heavily criticised by cross-party MPs and industry reformists.

The ongoing UK Gambling Review is expected to have no recommendations on betting sponsorship, as Premier League clubs have been ordered to lower the exposure of their betting partnerships significantly.

The Premier League’s entitlement was first reported last summer as an intervention made by PM Boris Johnson related to Gambling reforms, in which the PM wanted clubs to agree on a  ‘phased-out approach’ to ending betting shirt sponsorships.

At the time, Premier League clubs were scheduled to hold a vote on whether to agree on a mandatory ban of shirt sponsorships, which would require a majority of 14 clubs to agree on the mandate. The vote was suspended following Johnson’s resignation and the Conservative Party launching its leadership contest.

BBC News reported that “top-flight clubs are yet to vote on this”. However, “the government looks likely to agree a deal with the Premier League which would see gambling sponsors’ names taken off the front of football shirts.

Phasing out shirt sponsorships, betting brands were reported to still be allowed to feature across football grounds and “other parts of club shirts”.

The Premier League’s approach will likely face criticism by gambling reform groups, who have lambasted club bosses for normalising gambling sponsorships with football audiences.

Gambling with Lives, which represents families bereaved by gambling-related suicide launched its  ‘Big Step’ campaign to end all gambling advertising/sponsorships in football and carries the support of over 30 clubs in the UK and Ireland.

The Premier League has previously underlined that “a self-regulatory approach would provide a practical and flexible alternative to legislation or outright prohibition”.

Yet its response was scoffed at by Conservative peer Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who criticised the league for allowing 17 clubs to maintain betting partnerships, which in turn has converted football fans into walking advertisements for betting sponsors.

This morning, The Racing Post reported that DCMS Sports Minister Stuart Andrew will take over the ministerial brief of overseeing the Gambling Review’s final procedures.

Andrew succeeds Paul Scully, who has been transferred to the newly formed Department of Science, Information and Technology and becomes the sixth minister to take responsibility for Gambling’s White Paper since the government launched its review of gambling legislation in December 2020.

 

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