Wembley to ban new betting sponsors
September 5, 2018
The UK government is set to impose strict rules regarding advertising should the sale of the iconic Wembley stadium go through.
American billionaire, Shahid Khan, who is the owner of Fulham football club and the NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars, has made a £600 million bid to take the stadium off the FA’s hands but he will not have full control of advertising should the deal go ahead. Whether Khan is successful in his bid or another party sweeps in, it is reported (by The Times) that the new owner will not have renaming rights until 2057 and that they will have to agree to strict terms regarding advertising following the takeover. In particular with gambling-related advertisements.
Khan may have wished to rename Wembley Stadium to promote his NFL team but that hope along with lucrative advertisement revenue from gambling sponsored have been squashed.
In June 2017, The FA ended their commercial partnership with betting brand Ladbrokes early after facing pressure to re-evaluate such deals following a high-profile case involving footballer Joey Barton where the former Premier League player was given an 18-month ban after admitting to a betting-related misconduct charge.
Following the charge, the FA met to discuss the possible issues with partnering with betting brands and decided to cut short their deal with Ladbrokes.
Almost 60% of football clubs in England’s top two divisions are sponsored by gambling companies with 17 of the Championships 24 teams displaying gambling brands on their shirts.
“This is worrying” Gambling Watch UK’s Professor Jim Orford told PA Sport. “There is evidence that gambling is becoming ever more normalised, particularly among young people, so that increasingly betting is seen as part and parcel of following and supporting one’s favourite sport or team.”
However, the national governing body said that “the leagues and clubs govern their own relationships with gambling companies”.
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