Football clubs could be banned from using gambling logos on their shirts as part of a massive shake-up of sports advertising, it is reported.
The Government are weighing up a blanket ban on betting firm kit sponsorships, according to the Times, a move that would hit Premier League and Championship clubs the hardest. Teams from the top two divisions rake in around £110million a year from shirt deals with gambling companies.
Currently, eight top-flight teams out of 20 have their shirt sponsored by betting firms – Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
West Ham have a £10m-a-year deal with Betway, Leeds United’s deal with SBOTOP is worth £7.8m per season, while Newcastle are paid £7.5m a year by Fun88. In the Championship, there were 16 out of 24 sides who had betting partners last season.
Sports such as snooker, darts and boxing would also be dealt a blow if the ban comes into play as partnerships with gambling companies featuring heavily. Every player in the Professional Darts Corporation’s top 10 have a betting logo on their shirt, the report adds.
Sports officials have been warned by civil servants that a crackdown is on its way, it goes on, with ministers ‘increasingly concerned’ about gambling addiction.
The possible move, which would signal the biggest change in sports advertising since the promotion of tobacco was banned, has been praised by MPs and campaigners amid fears that sports stars are ‘walking billboards’ for betting firms.