The English Football League (EFL) has called for the UK Government not to proceed with plans to ban gambling sponsorship agreements amid financial concerns. According to the EFL, such a move could force more clubs to go out of business.
Yesterday, a select committee of gambling at the House of Lords published a major report, according to which Premier League football clubs should not be permitted to display betting companies’ logos on their shirts from the next season. Furthermore, the committee believes that the teams below the top flight should be forced to discontinue the practice of inking sponsorship deals with gambling operators by 2023. During the 3-year adaptation period, professional football clubs would be able to keep any existing sponsorship contracts with gambling companies but they would not be allowed to enter into new ones.
As Casino Guardian has previously revealed, half of the English Premier League (EPL) clubs have gambling operators as their major shirt sponsors in the 2019/2020 season. Also, 17 of the 24 clubs participating in the Championship are sponsored by gambling companies this season.
The report that was compiled by the House of Lords select committee on gambling has already been handed to the Government, and UK lawmakers have reminded they are planning a forthcoming review of the country’s 2005 Gambling Act. The report confirmed some recommendations that were made in June 2020 by an All-Party Parliamentary Group that has been studying the issue for a year.
The report of the select committee further recommends a ban to be imposed on gambling advertising in or in close proximity to sports venues and sports grounds.
Ban on Gambling Companies’ Sponsorship Agreements Will Affect Football Clubs’ Financial State
The English Football League, however, has opposed the campaigners’ recommendations, especially considering the fact they now rely more than ever on money received from their gambling sponsors because of the financial crisis that has already hit football clubs.
A spokesman of the EFL revealed that the coronavirus pandemic and the following lockdown measures probably represented the most serious challenge to the English Football Clubs’ financial state so far. The spokesman further noted that more than £40 million are paid by the gambling sector to the League and the clubs per season, so gambling sponsorship deals have been an important part of the professional football clubs’ financial sustainability due to the significant monetary contributions made.
According to the league, an evidence-based approach aimed at preventing gambling-related harm should be the one followed, with the economic needs of sport being honoured, too. The spokesman of the EFL explained that it was the League’s belief that professional sports organisations are able to work in collaboration with the Government and the gambling sector in order to make sure that partnerships are responsibly agreed on and activated.
The English Premier League, which has been less reliant on contributions from gambling operators, have previously noted it would back the review of the Gambling Act that the UK Government plans to launch.