The English Football League (EFL) has urged the Government not to impose a ban on gambling sponsors, saying that it could drive more clubs into administration.
Published on the 2nd July the House of Lords Gambling Select Committee’s report ‘Gambling Harm – Time for Action’ recommended that a ban on football teams kit sponsorships and venue advertising from gambling companies. If this ban is introduced, it will give teams that play outside of the Premier League until 2023 to find new, non-gambling related sponsors.
What the report suggests to the EFL
On the subject of shirt sponsors for EFL teams, the report stated: “We think they should be given time, perhaps three years, to adapt to the new situation.
“They would not be allowed in that time to enter into new sponsorship contracts with gambling companies, but any existing contracts could continue until they terminate and clubs would have time to seek alternative sources of sponsorship.”
As reported by the Daily Mail, the EFL has made it clear to the Government that many clubs rely on these kinds of sponsorship deals, and they highlighted the impending crisis that will hit club finances due to COVID-19 and that the money clubs get from their gambling sponsors is more critical than ever.
How the EFL has responded
A trusted EFL spokesperson said: “The Covid-19 pandemic represents perhaps the biggest challenge to the finances of EFL clubs in their history.
“With over £40 million a season paid by the sector to the League and its clubs, the significant contribution betting companies make to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional football at all levels is as important now as it has ever been.
“The League firmly believes a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms that is also sympathetic to the economic needs of sport will be of much greater benefit than the blunt instrument of blanket bans.
“It is our belief that sports organisations can work with the Government and the gambling industry to ensure partnerships are activated in a responsible fashion.”
The Premier League, on the other hand, who aren’t as reliant on the money from their gambling sponsors, have said they will support the Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005.
In our expose on the relationship that football has with gambling, we found out that only three Premier League clubs were without a gambling partner and half of the clubs had a betting brand as their primary shirt sponsor for the 19/20 season. This went further in the Sky Bet Championship, in which 17 out of the 24 teams had a betting brand name on their shirts for the current season.