Government review threatens sponsorship deals for football clubs

‘We all want to be part of the solution’: Betting firm chief insists industry is cleaning up their act as government review threatens lucrative sponsorship deals for football clubs

  • Review set to impact on the relationship between betting firms and clubs
  • Deals with gambling brands are worth millions of pounds every season
  • Quarter of Premier League clubs have gambling firms as main shirt sponsor

Football clubs are bracing themselves for another crushing financial blow as the Government prepare to open their long-awaited review into betting.

But the managing director of prominent gambling firm 32Red, who sponsor Derby County, is adamant the industry is committed to cleaning up its act ahead of the impending review.

It is understood government ministers plan to open their audit into the 2005 Gambling Act within a matter of weeks.

Review set to have major impact on the relationship between betting firms and football clubs

The review is set to have a major impact on the historical relationship between betting firms and football clubs.

Sponsorship and commercial deals with gambling brands are worth millions of pounds of revenue for clubs every season.

A quarter of Premier League clubs will have gambling companies as their main shirt sponsors this season, while many more teams have various lower level deals with firms in the industry.

Likewise, a number of cash-strapped EFL clubs have lucrative commercial contracts with gambling firms. Indeed, the EFL’s main sponsor is sports gaming company Sky Bet.

A quarter of Premier League clubs will have gambling companies as their main shirt sponsor

Among the possible changes to the Act that have been mooted ahead of the Government review is a blanket ban on shirt sponsorship by betting companies across sport in the UK.

At the very least, gambling firms are likely to be required to provide tangible evidence of their commitment to promoting responsible gambling before any sponsorship deals can be signed off.

With clubs facing hugely uncertain financial futures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, sponsorship deals will prove more crucial than ever as teams look to stay afloat.

And their is growing concern the outcome of the forthcoming Government review could have major repercussions for clubs across the country.

Neil Banbury, managing director of 32Red, who are Derby’s main shirt sponsor, has welcomed the imminent review provided it’s balanced – but says EFL clubs stand to lose out significantly if the Government place more stringing regulations on betting sponsorship.

Clubs are facing hugely uncertain financial futures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic 

He said: ‘Clubs are increasingly socially aware. I think ultimately the role of sponsorship in it’s commercial revenue stream is probably more important in the EFL than in the Premier League, where broadcasting is a much bigger contributor.

‘What we are finding is that clubs are now doing more due diligence to get deals through their boards and have them signed off.

‘As long as the Government review brings in views from across the spectrum that is evidence-based and it’s focused on tackling the real issues the industry has then hopeful we can move to a better position.

‘Every operator is coming at it from a different angle. But we all want to be part of the solution in that we want to be part of moving everyone to a much better and sustainable position.

‘Some companies have called for the end of sponsorship. But we are coming from place that we see it as a good opportunity to do some really good and visible work.

But ultimately the industry can talk about doing the right thing and providing a much healthier environment for customers but we have to be seen and believed that it’ s truly the case. We have huge duty to improve our side of the industry.’




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