Several UK football teams are preparing to protest the sponsorship of gambling this weekend. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A group of British football teams will take part in a protest against the sponsorship of gambling in football during matches this weekend.
Committed to removing sponsorship gambling from football
Many English Football League (EFL) and non-EFL teams will join the movement to kick gambling agencies out of football. Demonstrators will wear yellow shoelaces on their belts to show their solidarity with “Big Step,” a group committed to removing sponsorship of gambling from football.
Gambling has sparked many well-publicized debates across the UK and within the sport. The push to remove gambling sponsors is the next step in an inevitable clash between operators, legislators and the public.
It is no secret that the prevalence of gambling is constantly reaching record levels as many countries around the world continue to grow their home markets. This growth has sparked discussions about regulation in various forms, particularly sponsorship in sports.
The Big Step is one of several programs committed to “purifying” football by eliminating the external influence of gambling companies. Division I Forest Green Rovers and several non-league men’s and women’s teams are casting their votes in the debate by wearing yellow laces this weekend.
Second-League side Tranmere Rovers will show their support for the movement by donning yellow jerseys during the warm-up period in their FA Cup first round match against Carlisle United on Saturday.
Demonstrations come during Addiction Awareness Week
The demonstrations come during Addiction Awareness Week. The UK is facing an addiction crisis, with the UK addiction treatment group recently revealing an increase in problem gambling. Online gambling rates are also the highest ever.
However, the ban on gambling sponsors has yet to receive full support.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) said: “The government has previously stated that research has not demonstrated a causal relationship between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling.” “It is also worth noting that betting operators’ logos cannot be used on children’s clothing… while the whistle ban has reduced the number of TV betting ads children watch during live sports before the water pools by 97 percent.”
Protests and change in the future
Pressure to amend gambling laws has permeated all levels of conversation in the UK.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the Premier League was ready to impose a ban on gambling sponsors, but wanted teams to come to that decision themselves. Almost half of the 20 teams in the league have gambling sponsors and many have agreed deals with their sponsors this year.
The Premier League has also come under fire recently for its partnership with Sky Bet after it was revealed that teams were profiting from gambling losses for their fans. A rule canceling payments was introduced years ago, but many teams were still receiving “legacy payments”.
Clubs would lose 40 million pounds ($45.1 million) a year without gambling sponsors
The FA does not want to part with its long-time sponsor, and estimates that its clubs would lose 40 million pounds ($45.1 million) a year without gambling sponsors, potentially destabilizing their financial structure completely.
There is a possibility that the gambling reforms will be implemented by the newly appointed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who took over as Liz Truss after her short term ended.
No teams from the Premier League have joined the movement yet – their involvement could be crucial to achieving reform, as the league’s strength and influence trump all other Premier League teams and teams.