Pressure is mounting on Premier League bosses to back an outright ban on betting shirt sponsorships.
This weekend, Sky News reported on a new ‘fan-led campaign’ that aims to secure over one million signatures against gambling sponsorships in English football.
Branded ‘Footballers Supporters Against Gambling Adverts’, the move is led by recovering gambling addicts and the families bereaved by gambling-related suicide.
The campaign seeks for football clubs, regardless of which league they play in, to terminate all existing betting sponsorships and to further reject any future deals involving a gambling sponsor.
“Nowhere is gambling’s pernicious presence felt more than in football, which acts as the ‘hook’ that draws young, first-time gamblers in, setting them up for a lifetime of addiction,” read a statement from the group.
In July, Premier League clubs were scheduled to hold a vote on whether to agree on a mandatory ban of gambling shirt sponsorships.
Requiring a majority of 14 clubs to agree on the mandate, club bosses were reported to have settled on the terms to implement a ‘phased-out’ approach to ending betting shirt sponsorships.
The vote had been scheduled to take place ahead of the government publishing its White Paper on gambling reforms which has now been postponed due to PM Boris Johnson’s resignation.
The delay of the White Paper saw Premier League clubs abandon the vote. They are calling for the Conservative government to settle leadership outcomes that could imply further changes to football’s relationship with gambling.
Gambling reformists lambasted the government for allowing the Premier League to settle its own future with gambling.
Backed by PM Johnson, a ban on shirt sponsorships had been previously deemed as a guaranteed outcome of the Gambling Review.
Conservative peer, Iain Duncan Smith, Co-Chair of the Gambling Related Harm APPG, has warned MPs that he “would go to war, should gambling reforms be watered down”.