The English Premier League (EPL) has addressed its clubs, asking them to support discontinuing the gambling sponsorship deal practices in a last-minute move to avert legislation.
Reportedly, EPL chiefs have made the request as part of an effort to avoid the threat of a Government-enforced ban. According to reports, the Premier League bosses contacted clubs at the beginning of the week, proposing plans for the clubs to voluntarily end shirt sponsorship agreements with gambling operators within 3 years. The interested parties have been asked to respond quickly at a time when the UK Government is expected to publish the results of its review of the gambling sector laws. In order for the plans for a voluntary ban on betting shirt sponsorships to come into effect right away, 14 clubs are required to give their approval to the proposal.
The last decade has seen gambling sponsorship deals become very common in the English Premier League, with almost 50% of the 20 top-flight football clubs benefiting from such agreements over the last season.
Rumour has it that EPL administrators believe that the country’s Government still keeps its plans to bring in legislation suspending gambling sponsorships with top-flight football clubs in mind. By urging Premier League football clubs to adopt a voluntary ban on such practices and by doing so pretty much handling the concern themselves, EPL chiefs hope they would be able to avoid Government intervention.
Gambling Companies Have Been Major Revenue Contributors to EPL Clubs through Sponsorship Deals
According to reports, the proposal made by Premier League chiefs involves a voluntary ban on gambling partnerships at the start of the new season. The existing deals, however, will be allowed to run their course in case they are set to expire no later than the 2024/2025 season.
As mentioned above, no less than 14 clubs would have to support the proposal so that it is being immediately adopted. One club executive revealed that the EPL chiefs had given them just days to respond to the plan. Another club’s executive highlighted that the EPL chiefs had indicated that the proposed ban on gambling sponsorship deals was intended to be permanent but the plan involves a clause allowing it to be overturned in certain circumstances with a 2-year notice. Perimeter gambling advertising would still be allowed.
According to previous reports, late last week the English Premier League made a suggestion to the UK Government to allow gambling sponsorship branding to continue indefinitely. For the time being, it remains unclear whether this idea was part of the EPL administration’s communication with clubs.
As Casino Guardian previously reported, the issue has been a sensitive one of the leading clubs in English football top leagues because a large number of them have been relying on revenue provided by their gambling sponsors. Over the last season, almost half of the clubs in the EPL have had betting and gambling operators as sponsors.
An unnamed Whitehall source familiar with the situation shared that in the last few days there have been intensive discussions regarding the terms of a potential voluntary agreement that could be supported by local legislators in case the necessary number of EPL clubs support the plan.
The UK Government is expected to publish the White Paper on its gambling legislation review in the weeks to come.