Premier League Clubs to Vote on Sponsorship Ban

The discussion over whether gambling companies should sponsor the shirts of Premier League clubs rumbles on. The Premier League have now asked the 20 clubs playing in the top flight of English football to vote on whether a voluntary ban on such deals should take place.

The UK government have been reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act and looking at ways to regulate the industry. One main topic has been the sponsorship that last season saw half the 20 clubs in the Premier League have shirt sponsorship from gambling companies.

Since last season, Crystal Palace have ended their deal, but Everton and Bournemouth have signed new ones with and Dafabet respectively.

Rumours have been circulating that the government won’t go ahead and just ban such sponsorship deals. Their hope is that the Premier League will agree to voluntarily phase them out. Is that likely though when new deals are being signed?

It would require 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs to vote in favour for the voluntary ban to come into place. Everton and Bournemouth probably won’t vote for it, so that would leave 14 out of 18 needing to vote in favour.

Monday July 4 saw the 20 Premier League clubs being sent an email about this issue. A decision on what happens next is expected to take place next week. That would see the decision made before the government finally publishes its White Paper on gambling reforms.

Those who have been campaigning for stricter regulation of the gambling industry won’t be happy with a voluntary agreement. They are pushing for an outright ban and a voluntary one would see more problems for the continually under-fire Conservative government.

They don’t just want to see a ban on shirt sponsorship but on social media and pitch-perimeter advertising. The latter is seen by the youngsters who attend Premier League games. The University of Glasgow carried out a study into the subject. They claimed that there were over 700 betting-related logos that could be seen during a match.

It’s not just a problem that affects the Premier League. Other leagues in the UK have many teams that have gambling companies sponsoring their shirts. The English Football League is sponsored by Sky Bet and believe that if a ban was imposed on them, their clubs would lose £40 million a year.

Whereas Premier League sides would not find it too difficult to find replacement sponsors, that’s not the case with the lower leagues. Campaigners don’t realise that and want a ban to be placed on all leagues not just the top-flight. They believe that only applying it to Premier League clubs is “incoherent.”

It looks as if there are going to be more arguments than in a Tsitsipas v Kyrgios match when the White Paper is finally published.