English Premier League Teams Reportedly Prepared to Ban Betting Sponsorships

  • Teams will debate the matter at a meeting next week
  • Fourteen teams must agree to the proposition to pass it 
  • The league is facing pressure from the government to reach a resolution or risk its interference
  • Votes are expected to be delayed until September
Player on West Ham United
Premier League teams could be ready to ban betting sponsors from the front of shirts. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Taking charge

English Premier League (EPL) clubs will support a ban on gambling shirt sponsors if certain criteria are met, per the Times

The group of 20 soccer teams in England’s top flight of the sport will meet next week to discuss the matter at a shareholders meeting. This has been a growing issue for several months and was ready to be brought to a head until turbulence within the national government caused lawmakers to turn their focus elsewhere. As a result, the league took a step back from the issue and scheduled the discussion.

sources suggested the ban will be upheld

The EPL is the most visible and competitive league in the world, so its decision could have a massive spillover effect. There is no guarantee as to what will come of the meeting, but the Times reported that sources suggested the ban will be upheld.

Ramifications of betting sponsorship bans

Fourteen teams need to approve the betting sponsorship ban to pass the measure. The “big six”— Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham— will all wield heavy influence in the debate because of their on-pitch dominance and external notoriety and popularity.

Early reports suggest that clubs support front-of-shirt bans, but would allow betting branding on the sleeves. Additionally, the new restrictions would be phased in over three years instead of immediately, thus preventing multiple markets from being thrown into limbo and severing high-level relationships.

the EPL could lose £5m ($6.01m) to £10m ($12.03m) per season

Teams would also ask the government to recognize their prohibition as it could lead to a heavy loss in income. According to the Times, the EPL could lose £5m ($6.01m) to £10m ($12.03m) per season.

The EPL is asking these losses be considered when they are asked to allocate money to the English Football League (EFL), the governing body of the second, third, and fourth tiers of domestic soccer. 

The climate in the Premier League

The league’s interest in banning betting shirt sponsorships is a response to the government’s warning they would pass legislation circumventing the power of the teams. A few weeks ago, the league urged teams to end their relationships with betting companies.

During the Spring, 20 EFL and non-league teams (meaning teams in lower divisions) implored the United Kingdom’s government to enact legislation outlawing betting sponsorships. In a letter sent to the government, the participating teams said they wanted to “challenge the notion that football (soccer) is dependent on gambling advertising revenues.”

Seven EPL squads have deals with gambling companies heading into the upcoming season, while two newly-promoted sides, Fulham and Nottingham Forest, are yet to announce their sponsors. None of the big six clubs are in bed with gaming companies following Manchester City’s cutting of ties with Marathonbet.

The Times reports that teams are expected to delay votes until September when the political climate has cooled. The UK government has also postponed a whitepaper on gambling reform until Boris Johnson’s successor as prime minister has been appointed.

There has not been pressure from the national level since May when the government agreed to drop its pursuit of a legislative ban if the EPL voluntarily agreed upon one.