Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson, went yesterday (5/9/2017) on to state that his party is determined to tackle the ‘hidden epidemic’ of addiction and protect children from getting exposed to gambling.
In this direction, he mentioned that they intend to ban football clubs from signing deals with bookmakers, in order to disallow them from appearing on teams' shirts.
Mr Watson said: “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. Just as tobacco companies were banned from sponsoring sporting events and putting their logos on branded goods because of the harm smoking can cause,” he said, “it’s right that we recognize the harm problem gambling does and take gambling logos off football shirts. 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”.
As things stand, 25 professional football clubs in England have signed sponsorship deals with betting companies, nine of which play in the Premier League. Everton, West Ham and Newcastle are among them and amount for a combined sponsorship revenue of £47.3m for this season.
Football Association rules already prohibit youth teams from wearing kits that display products considered “detrimental to the welfare, health or general interests of young persons” – including gambling.
According to a recent research by academics at Goldsmiths, University of London, gambling is closely knit to football culture, as spectators are constantly exposed to sports betting branding during football matches.