Gambling sponsor shirt ban in white paper draft

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The upcoming white paper looks to ban gambling sponsorships on football shirts

Only last month, multiple members of the football league called for a ban on all advertising in sport. It seems that the UK Gambling Commission could make this a reality as a draft of the upcoming white paper has shown that there could be a ban on having gambling sponsors on football shirts.

Over half of the Premier League have betting firms on their shirts such as Crystal Palace and West Ham. This ban is likely to be applied for the 2023 to 2024 season at the earliest as many clubs are most likely in the process of negotiating contracts for the next season.

Discussions started in 2020

In 2020, a recommendation by a House of Lords select committee stated that Premier League clubs should face a shirt sponsorship ban but smaller Championship clubs should be given time to phase out these partnerships.

The English Football League (EFL) argued that this could cost clubs £40 million each year, whilst the Premier League wants a self-regulatory approach rather than outright prohibition.

White paper coming soon

"We are undertaking the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years to make sure they are fit for the digital age," said a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). "We will publish a white paper which sets out our vision for the sector in the coming weeks."

The Betting and Gaming Council spokesperson strongly supports the gambling review and said all sponsorships "must comply with strict guidelines and safer gambling messaging is regularly and prominently displayed."

"End all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football," says The Big Step

James Grimes of the campaign group, The Big Step, said: "This is welcome, but to remove gambling from shirts while allowing pitch-side advertising, league sponsorship and club partnerships to continue would be massively incoherent."

He concluded: "If the government recognises gambling can be harmful, as this step suggests, then it must end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football at all levels, not just on shirts."