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Gambling logos ‘could be banned from football shirts’ in massive shake-up of sporting advertising

Gambling logos could be BANNED from football shirts in massive shake-up of sporting advertising ‘with snooker, darts and boxing also set to be hit’ as Government ready for blanket ban similar to tobacco branding

  • Football could soon be without shirt sponsorship cash from gambling firms  
  • The Government is reportedly considering blanket ban on betting logos in sport 
  • Premier League clubs would be hit the hardest, as well as darts and snooker 

Football clubs could be banned from using gambling logos on their shirts as part of a massive shake-up of sports advertising, reports claim. 

The Government are weighing up a blanket ban on betting firm kit sponsorships, according to the Times, a move that would hit Premier League and Championship clubs the hardest. Teams from the top two divisions rake in around £110million a year from shirt deals with gambling companies.

Currently, eight top-flight teams out of 20 have their shirt sponsored by betting firms – Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Premier League clubs could be banned from using gambling firms as their kit sponsors 

West Ham have a £10m-a-year deal with Betway, Leeds United’s deal with SBOTOP is worth £7.8m-a-season, while Newcastle are paid £7.5m a year by Fun88. In the Championship, there were 16 out of 24 sides who had betting partners last season.  

Sports such as snooker, darts and boxing would also be dealt a blow if the ban comes into play as partnerships with gambling companies featuring heavily. Every player in the Professional Darts Corporation’s top 10have a betting logo on their shirt, the report adds.

Sports officials have been warned by civil servants that a crackdown is on its way, it goes on, with ministers ‘increasingly concerned’ about gambling addiction.

The possible move, which would signal the biggest change in sports advertising since the promotion of tobacco was banned, has been praised by MPs and campaigners amid fears that sports stars are ‘walking billboards’ for betting firms.

Fulham are one of eight top flight sides with a gambling firm as their kit sponsor

Burnley have a £7.5m-a-year deal with LoveBet

Nearly half of top-flight clubs, including Fulham (left) and Burnley (right) have a shirt deal with a betting firm

Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of Clean Up Gambling, said: ‘Footballers, darts players, snooker players and rugby players are like walking billboards for gambling companies. 

‘The evidence shows this sort of advertising is impacting negatively on children who are growing up thinking you have to put on a bet to enjoy sport.’

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a senior figure in the all-party parliamentary group on gambling harm said a crackdown on shirt logos was a positive move, but urged the Government to go further and ban advertising from the industry completely.

‘Banning gambling logos on sportswear would be a welcome step, but given the risks presented by gambling the government will need to deal with this issue more widely. A complete ban on gambling advertising is long overdue and this should be brought forward ahead of the upcoming gambling review.’

Darts are one of the sports that would be hit hard by a Government crackdown on advertising

Darts are one of the sports that would be hit hard by a Government crackdown on advertising

A Premier League source told the Times that a ban would come ‘at the worst possible time’ with clubs already struggling without matchday revenue during the coronavirus lockdown.

‘This comes at the worst possible time for football clubs and sports clubs generally, who are struggling with their revenue base during the pandemic,’ it said. ‘Most clubs agree with the general principle, but the timing is wrong.’ 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is heading up a review into gambling, insists no decision has been made about any ban.

‘We are undertaking a comprehensive review of gambling laws to make sure they are fit for the digital age. We are determined to tackle problem gambling in all its forms. No decisions have been taken.’ 

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