Norwich City Football Club has revealed that their shirt sponsorship with the online gambling operator Dafabet has come to an end. The announcement has come amid recent speculation about a sponsorship deal of the British football club with another gambling company.
After the club’s promotion to the English Premier League (EPL) in 2019, Norwich City announced a “record-breaking partnership” with Dafabet, with the online gambling operator becoming its front-of-shirt sponsor for three seasons. Under the terms of the partnership agreement, the gambling company had its branding featured around the Carrow Road Stadium.
At the time, the Dafabet agreement came to replace the one with another gambling company, LeoVegas. Now, the deal has been ended 12 months earlier than it was supposed to. The recent announcement has come at a time when the Premier League football clubs have been facing much criticism about their partnerships with gambling operators, with anti-gambling campaigners blaming them for making gambling look normal to sports fans by popularising the services of their sponsors.
After their Dafabet sponsorship deal was unveiled in 2019, the chief operating officer Ben Kensell had highlighted the importance of the proceeds generated by the front-of-shirt agreement with Norwich City. At the time, Mr Kensell also said that the gambling sponsorship was a controversial issue that the football club tried to balance with a variety of community initiatives.
EPL Clubs Face Increased Criticism over Gambling Sponsorship Deals
As mentioned above, Norwich City F.C. surprisingly announced the end of its partnership deal with Dafabet and said that the club will be working with a new main partner from the 2021/2022 season onwards. Reportedly, Norwich City will ink the main sponsorship deal with another gambling firm, the Cambodia-based online casino operator BK8. Some of the football club’s fans have already eyed the company’s branding on the Carrow Road Stadium.
Mr. Kensel said that throughout the last two EPL seasons, the football club had experienced some unprecedented and landmark moments. He said that during the 2019/2022 Premier League campaign, Norwich City F.C. generated record commercial revenue and had a very successful Championship season despite the challenges faced during the coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, Mr Kensell praised Dafabet for its support for the club, saying that the contribution of the gambling company had been extremely important.
The news that Norwich City and Dafabet are parting ways as partners comes several months after in December 2020 the UK Government announced its review of the country’s gambling legislation in order to make sure that the Gambling Act of 2005 is suitable to regulate the industry at times when the UK gambling sector is becoming more digitalised than ever.
Furthermore, with an increasing number of gambling operators dominating shirt sponsorship agreements in the English Premier League and the Championship, the country’s Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston shared that the Government would take further action should there is evidence of harm associated with gambling sponsorship and advertising deals.