Palios hits out on radio
Mark Palios, the former chief executive of the Football Association (FA) and current Tranmere Rovers chairman, says soccer must “wean” itself away from relying on sponsorship deals from gambling companies.
Palios said the relationship between soccer clubs and gambling companies has “gone too far” during BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 program.
soccer must “wean” itself away from relying on sponsorship deals from gambling companies
The Tranmere Rovers chairman has been adamant that the League One club will never have a gambling sponsor. He says the club rejected a deal from a leading gambling operator in 2019. As part of this deal, the gambling company wanted to install betting terminals in the stadium.
Palios said: “This is a family club that’s firmly rooted in the community and from our perspective it’s the wrong thing to do to get associated with the gambling industry.”
Working on an individual level
While he admitted that he cannot do anything to change the bigger picture in soccer with regards to these sponsor deals, he said that clubs can do more on an individual level.
Palios went on to say that a Tranmere Rovers employee stole from the club to fund their gambling habit. He also said that a number of players are also struggling with gambling addiction. He believes betting companies see the demographics of soccer supporters as being “particularly appealing.”
Organizers don’t see an issue
According to the English Football League (EFL), the relationship between soccer clubs and the gambling industry is fine.
A spokesperson for the organization said: “The EFL itself continues to have a successful relationship with Sky Bet who, as a responsible, properly regulated bookmaker, recognizes the importance of having the right safeguards in place.”
almost 60% of all of clubs in England’s top two soccer leagues have a gambling sponsor
Unlike the English Football League, the Premier League does not have a central deal with a gambling company. It leaves it up to the clubs themselves to decide on what sponsorship deals they wish to enter into. Currently, almost 60% of all of clubs in England’s top two soccer leagues have a gambling sponsor.
Clubs changing their stance
Earlier this week Everton FC announced that it had decided to terminate its shirt sponsorship deal with betting operator SportPesa two years early. The deal was reportedly worth £7m ($9.13m) per season.
The reason for the early termination is that the club is no longer being comfortable with being linked to a gambling company in this manner.
Changes on the way
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is the body that represents most of the bookmakers in the United Kingdom. This organization is exploring the idea of introducing a voluntary ban on accepting pitchside advertising from gambling companies and having these firms as kit sponsors.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is also looking into a deal that allows customers to view FA Cup game live streams if they sign up for an account with certain online gambling sites.