Clubs admit they can’t turn down cash from betting firm deals

“The announcement follows an extensive consultation involving the league, its clubs and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government’s ongoing review of current gambling legislation. Any voluntary ban on gambling sponsorship would only apply to front-of-shirt deals, so sleeve and training kit sponsorship from the betting industry would continue to be permitted. EFL clubs would be exempt altogether on the grounds that the estimated £40m loss of annual income would be catastrophic for lower league clubs.

The White Paper is expected to call on Premier League clubs to agree to a voluntary ban on shirt sponsorship from gambling companies. Eight of the 20 Premier League clubs display gambling firm names on the front of their shirts, which could effectively be outlawed from the start of the 2024-25 season if legislation is passed by the end of the current parliament. Given the fortunes available to the top six clubs through commercial deals, mid to low level Premier League clubs feel compelled to capitalise on every opportunity available to close the gap financially on England’s elite clubs.

Newcastle finishing tenth in the Premier League would be an… Leicester 1-2 Newcastle: Rafa Benitez’s side hold on to move… Premier League fans’ verdict: Liverpool supporter mocks… Jonjo Shelvey proves he is the real deal in Newcastle win…… Beginning at home to Tottenham on August 11, they then travel to dangerous new boys Cardiff, with fixtures against champions Manchester City and title contenders Arsenal and Chelsea in the following three weeks.

The relationship between gambling and football was thrust into the spotlight last week following the Daily Mail’s front page exclusive exposing the Football Association’s streaming partnership with Bet365, who provided a live broadcast of 22 of the 32 FA Cup third-round ties. After betting furore, the FA now offer live Cup… MARTIN SAMUEL: The FA pitch themselves as guardians of… FA DIG HEELS IN: Despite government calls, they WILL… FA risk backlash from TV partners with chief executive…

Plans for a levy on the gambling industry to fund research into addiction and treatment for it have also been axed. Nearly half the clubs last season were sponsored by gambling companies, including Newcastle and West Ham. One Premier League club, whose current shirt sponsorship deal is worth more than £7million per season, has said that the offer presented by the nearest non- betting competitor was worth half of their current contract with a gambling firm.

A number of the seven other Premier League clubs with betting companies as shirt sponsors are also understood to be looking for alternatives, with Newcastle’s deal with Fun88 and Leeds’ with SBOTOP both believed to be under review. The Gambling Commission – the industry regulator – will also be given new powers and additional funding, while a new ombudsman will strengthen customers’ rights if gambling companies fail to be socially responsible.

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