Premier League clubs to discuss shirt sponsors featuring gambling companies

Eight Premier League clubs; Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham and Wolves, have gambling companies on the front of their shirts.

17 Premier League clubs began the 2020-21 season with an association with a betting brand
Image: 17 Premier League clubs began the 2020-21 season with an association with a betting brand

Premier League clubs are expected to discuss the impact of shirt sponsorship on gambling at a shareholder meeting on Thursday.

Last year, a House of Lords committee recommended that gambling operators should no longer be allowed to advertise on the shirts of sports teams or any other part of their kit from 2023.

The government launched a wide-ranging review of gambling laws late last year and their call for evidence ends on March 31.

Clubs are due to receive an update on findings around shirt sponsorship and gambling addiction.

Eight Premier League teams including Crystal Palace and Wolves have betting companies on the front of their shirts
Image: Eight Premier League teams including Crystal Palace and Wolves have betting companies on the front of their shirts

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) told Sky Sports News: "We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of gambling laws to make sure they are fit for the digital age and a public call for evidence is open for contributions.

"We are determined to tackle problem gambling in all its forms and the work will build upon our strong track record of introducing measures to protect those at risk.

"No decisions have been taken."

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Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says there "needs to be balance".

"All our clubs have betting partnerships but are not necessarily as reliant, in quantum terms, as EFL clubs", Masters told a parliamentary inquiry in November 2020. "I believe very strongly that they activate their partnership in a responsible way. I think you are seeing an element of self-regulation on behalf of the betting and gambling companies at the moment as well."

"If there needs to be a rebalancing, that is fine, but we do not think there should be a prohibition on sponsorship of football clubs or other sports clubs, for that matter."

EFL chairman Rick Parry
Image: EFL chairman Rick Parry has warned of catastrophic consequences should gambling sponsorship be removed immediately

EFL Chair Rick Parry has warned of the "catastrophic" impact to finances if gambling sponsorship was removed immediately.

Parry told MPs: "It would be potentially catastrophic if it came in overnight. It would create major difficulties. Phased in over time, frankly clubs would need to find a way to adapt. If any changes were to come in quickly, major problems would arise."

He reiterated that gambling sponsorship is a "significant source" of income, worth at least £40m.

In July 2020, the House of Lords published 'Gambling Harm - Time for Action', a 192-page report from the Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, and made more than 50 recommendations "to address the misery that a gambling addiction can visit on individuals and their families and friends."

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