A controversial agreement
Aston Villa has reportedly signed a three-year sponsorship deal with a controversial gambling operator.
Norwich City previously had an arrangement with BK8
On Tuesday, Telegraph Sport reported on the the agreement between the Birmingham-based soccer club and online gambling operator BK8. Championship club Norwich City previously had an arrangement with BK8 before the team terminated the agreement due to ‘sexualized’ ads.
It appears that the BK8 logo could appear on Aston Villa’s jerseys in the near future. This is despite speculation that a ban on gambling companies appearing on soccer team jerseys in the UK could soon be coming into effect.
Details remain unclear
No specific details of the deal between Aston Vila and BK8 have yet been made public. What is clear, is that the team has been searching for a new main shirt sponsor in time for the beginning of next season. Its deal with front-of-shirt sponsor Cazoo will expire at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Aston Villa representatives did not provide a comment to Telegraph Sport regarding the supposed sponsorship deal with BK8. According to the news source, anti-gambling addiction campaigners have expressed their dismay that the team would consider partnering with BK8.
Norwich City ended its arrangement with the Asia-focused BK8 brand in 2021. Locals and fans were outraged at some of BK8’s marketing materials which included a video showing sexual acts being simulated with a sausage. Other concerns existed regarding a BK8 ambassador with links to hardcore pornography.
BK8 ultimately apologized and removed some of the ads
When terminating the sponsorship agreement, Norwich City said that the offensive ads did “not align with the wider vision and values” of the club. BK8 ultimately apologized and removed some of the ads in question.
The company has since made efforts to enter deals with other English soccer teams, including Huddersfield, Burnley, and Crystal Palace.
Change potentially inbound
Industry insiders expect publication of the white paper for the UK government’s review of gambling legislation in the coming weeks. They predict numerous significant changes to gambling legislation, including curtailment on gambling sponsors for sports teams and events.
During the summer, Premier League teams were due to vote on banning front-of-shirt gambling sponsorship. This vote was postponed due to ongoing political turmoil.
Bournemouth, Fulham, and Everton have each entered new shirt deals with gambling operators for the current season.