New Derby partnership an “embarrassment”
Wayne Rooney, previous Manchester United player and England captain, sent the sports world into a frenzy earlier this week. He revealed he would be leaving D.C. United, his current football team based in Washington, to join Derby County, who play in the Championship league.
Gambling company 32Red will be sponsoring the team to coincide with Rooney’s signing. They proudly bestowed the ’32’ number shirt on the star player at a joint press conference. The move has been criticized by those in the industry, including former Minister Richard Caborn, who was behind the 2005 Gambling Act.
He spoke out in the Telegraph today to brand the partnership “an embarrassment”. He said “Wayne Rooney, who has got kids himself, should perhaps know this is not the brightest. The gambling companies need to be doing themselves favors at the moment, but this is not going to go down well with football authorities or the Government.”
The controversial decision was however defended by Derby County’s owner, Mel Morris, who said he was eager to “leverage Wayne’s involvement”, adding that “the commercial opportunities this creates are widespread and significant.”
Still, critics have voiced concerns over how the move will be seen to make 32Red’s gambling platform more appealing to young fans in particular.
It comes after gambling firms recently agreed to halt advertising during live sporting events, following criticism of their increasingly invasive presence since the Gambling Act came into effect. The legislation allowed online bookmakers and casinos to substantially increase their advertising.
But it’s not just Derby who are in the spotlight. Carbon also criticized Huddersfield’s partnership with Paddy Power, saying clubs and gambling firms are abusing their position.
Record-breaking sponsorship deal
Rooney was keen to accept the move back home, which will net him a reported £100,000 ($121,311) a week. It puts his pay five times ahead of the average Championship footballer, which is the second league in English football. His current club has reportedly waived a transfer fee.
When asked about the number he had been given, Rooney commented,
For me, the important thing was to come back and help the team, the number isn’t a big deal, whatever it is.”
However, the club’s owner said: “On the back of Wayne joining the club, we have just been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor, 32Red.”
This new model of football club sponsorship will also see the company partner with the Derby County Community Trust, to help both the club and community grow.
Rooney is set to start playing for the team in January 2020.