Edinburgh City FC has become the latest football club, and the first in Scotland, to partner with Gambling with Lives’ Big Step initiative.
A grassroots project, the Big Step’s primary aim is to ‘kick gambling ads out of football’, and has the backing of several MPs including the Labour Party’s Carolyn Harris, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm (APPG GRH) and Ronnie Cowan of the Scottish National Party, who recently argued for a ban on gambling advertising during the UEFA 2020 European Championship.
The campaign recently completed a 10-day, 300-mile walk which saw 30 people affected by gambling related harm walk from Scotland to Wembley, echoing MP Cowan’s calls for broadcasters to suspend gambling adverts during the Euro 2020 tournament.
“We are thrilled to have the support of Edinburgh City during a pivotal time for gambling reform in this county,” said James Grimes, Big Step Founder.
“For most of us involved with The Big Step, the harmful relationship between gambling and football was the gateway for years of addiction – if only our clubs had taken this stance, things may have been different for us.
“Football doesn’t promote tobacco because of the health risks – it’s now time for more clubs to replicate ECFC’s commendable stance on advertising gambling which is risking the health of millions of young fans.”
By joining the campaign, Scottish League Two club Edinburgh City has become the first Scottish team to call for a ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.
Both the Scottish Premiership and Scottish League Cup were recently sponsored by betting operators in the form of Ladbrokes and William Hill, whilst Rangers and Celtic maintain partnerships with 32Red and Dafabet respectively.
Jim Brown, Chairman of Edinburgh City, commented: “We decided it was time to adopt an ethical approach to all our partnerships; the pandemic has shown just how much football has the potential to be an immense power for good, so it makes sense to us to reinforce only positive messages both for physical and mental health.
“We are delighted to support The Big Step in their campaign as we share the same core value of trying to change the existing reliance on gambling in Scottish football.”
Prior to signing the agreement with Edinburgh City, the Big Step entered into a partnership with Forest Green Rovers FC of the English League Two, its debut deal with an English professional football club.