In an odd turn of events this week, it was revealed that a group of 20 European Football League (EFL) and non-league clubs wrote a letter to the UK government asking for a ban on advertising within the sport of football when it comes to gambling. Laws regarding gambling are under review, and ministers are working on publishing any reforms before the Easter holiday. Banning front-of-shirt sponsorships for gambling companies is currently being considered.
Senior officials for the EFL have requested that the rule change not take place, stating the clubs need the income from gambling sponsorships to stay afloat. Yet, this group of football teams says that the money is not needed, and they want the ban to go through so the clubs can prove that the sport is not dependent on revenues from gambling advertising.
Details of the Letter
The letter was sent in by several teams, including Forest Green, Luton, and Tranmere. According to the Daily Mail, the letter was seen by Sportsmail and said that owners, directors, and executives of the football clubs had seen the ‘harmful growth of gambling sponsorship and advertising’ in the sport. Including how it negatively affects fans.
The letter stated further that with a ban in place, it would be an acceptance of gambling harm and encourage the banning of stadium advertising as well as competition sponsorship, allowing young sports fans to go to a football match and enjoy it free of any temptation to gamble.
Challenging the Notion of Need
The clubs stated that the fans, players, and the public agree that the sponsorships need to go. It seems the only barrier is that clubs are dependent on the money from the sponsorships, and these teams say that just isn’t true.
The letter is challenging the idea that the clubs must have these revenues, or they will not stay afloat. The clubs connected to the letter say that they have found other forms of partnerships that are bringing in income.
The new partnerships have arisen thanks to the team’s socially responsible stance on the issue of gambling. It is unclear if the letter provided an example of such partnerships. It will be interesting to see if the words of the many EFL and non-league clubs will have an impact on the governments’ decision to ban shirt sponsorships. Will the letter cause a riff between clubs in the sport as they seem to have a varying stance from others on the matter?