The English Football League (EFL) has urged the government not to impose a blanket ban on gambling sponsorships, citing concerns that it could drive more clubs into administration.
Published yesterday, the House of Lords Gambling Select Committee’s report ‘Gambling Harm – Time for Action‘ recommended a ban on sports teams kit sponsorships and venue advertising. If implemented, the recommendation gives non-Premier League clubs until 2023 to find new, non-gambling sponsors.
On shirt sponsorship for EFL clubs, the report said: “We think they should be given time, perhaps three years, to adapt to the new situation.
“They would not be allowed in that time to enter into new sponsorship contracts with gambling companies, but any existing contracts could continue until they terminate and clubs would have time to seek alternative sources of sponsorship.”
Reported on the Daily Mail, the EFL has emphasised that many clubs are reliant on gambling sponsorships – highlighting that an impending financial crisis due to COVID-19 has meant the financial contribution from gambling companies is ‘as important now as it has ever been’.
An EFL spokesperson said: “The Covid-19 pandemic represents perhaps the biggest challenge to the finances of EFL clubs in their history.
“With over £40 million a season paid by the sector to the League and its clubs, the significant contribution betting companies make to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional football at all levels is as important now as it has ever been.
“The League firmly believes a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms that is also sympathetic to the economic needs of sport will be of much greater benefit than the blunt instrument of blanket bans.
“It is our belief that sports organisations can work with the Government and the gambling industry to ensure partnerships are activated in a responsible fashion.”
During the 2019/20 season, half of Premier League teams have a gambling company as their main shirt sponsor, as do 17 of the 24 teams in the Championship, also sponsored by Sky Bet.