Preston North End drops gambling sponsorship

There is an increasing backlash against gambling sponsorship in English football.
There is an increasing backlash against gambling sponsorship in English football.

The English Football League team Preston North End has ended its deal with Kindred’s 32Red and will not accept gambling sponsorship in the future.

UK.- Another English football team has come out against gambling sponsorship in the sport, and this time it’s a higher profile club.

Last week, English League Two team Forest Green Rovers said it supported a ban on gambling sponsorship in football. Now English Football League team Preston North End has ended its arrangement with Kindred’s 32Red.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to club owner Trevor Hemmings, has confirmed that 32Red will be replaced with “a local non-betting partner” in the coming weeks.

Ridsdale said the decision had been influenced by an increased concern among supporters about gambling sponsorship in football.

He told fans: “Finding good sponsors that work with us and also pay competitive monies is difficult. Some years ago many football clubs were sponsored by alcohol companies and then that sector was prohibited. 

“This gap was taken up by betting companies. Indeed if you take away front of shirt sponsors who are directly connected to their clubs owners, by far the greatest balance of front of shirt sponsors in the top two divisions are betting companies.

“We have been grateful for the income received from the betting sector and for the last four years from 32Red. We do however recognise that many of our supporters have grave misgivings in such relationships and of course it means that replica shirts for our supporters aged under 18 cannot be the same as the ones being worn by our first-team squad.

“In thanking 32Red and all other sponsors in recent years, I am able to confirm that we will be announcing in the coming weeks a new front of shirt sponsorship deal with a local non-betting partner that we are absolutely delighted with and we believe that our supporters will be too.

“This will give us plenty of time to get the new logos onto the 2021/22 kit in time for launch in July.”

Increasing hostility to gambling sponsorship in football

Preston North End’s decision is the latest and most high-profile move amid an increasing backlash against gambling sponsorship in football.

Forest Green Rovers announced its support for a national ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship in football last week by joining the national The Big Step campaign, which is run by the charity Gambling with Lives.

Chairman David Vince OBE said: “It’s like gambling has taken over football. If you watch a game on TV you are inundated with ads – gambling logos are on almost half of Premier League shirts, and constantly flash up on pitch sideboards.”

It is widely expected that the UK government’s current review of gambling legislation will lead to the introduction of a nationwide ban on gambling sponsorship in football. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to personally support the move.

Preston North End’s decision stands out for an EFL team because the EFL itself has strongly defended the prevalence of gambling sponsorship in football, arguing that it is essential for clubs’ finances.

The Betting and Gaming Council has also emphasised that betting is essential to sport.

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