A deputy leader unveiled a policy that would ban betting companies from signing shirt sponsorship deals with football clubs.
UK.- Tom Watson, deputy leader, revealed a policy that would ban shirt sponsorship deals between betting companies and Premier League clubs, as it is believed that children must be protected from early exposure to gambling and that it would help tackle addiction.
The proposal is part of a series of measures to curb gambling firms’ power in the United Kingdom, and it is certainly putting some pressure on the government before its review of the industry, set to be released during Autumn. Watson confirmed that the Labour government would encourage the Football Association to implement the ban but that it is ready to legislate the move if it comes to it.
“Football has to play its part in tackling Britain’s hidden epidemic of gambling addiction. Shirt sponsorship sends out a message that football clubs don’t take problem gambling among their own fans seriously enough. It puts gambling brands in front of fans of all ages, not just at matches but on broadcasts and highlights packages on both commercial television and the BBC,” he said.
Nine of the 20 Premier League teams currently feature a shirt sponsorship deal with gambling companies, worth combined £47.3 million this season, The Guardian reported. The rules established by the Football Association already detail that products considered detrimental to the welfare, health or general interests of young persons”, like gambling, are banned from youth teams. “Just as tobacco companies were banned from sponsoring sporting events and putting their logos on branded goods because of the harm smoking can cause,. it’s right that we recognise the harm problem gambling does and take gambling logos off football shirts.”
Watson believes that the rising number of problem gambling in the territory asks for football to distance itself from gambling. “With new evidence showing gambling addiction rising, at huge cost to individuals and their families, to society and to the taxpayer, the clubs should follow the FA’s lead,” he added.