EFL urges government to not ban gambling sponsorships

The English Football League (EFL) has urged the government to resist demands to ban gambling sponsorships in football. 

These wishes come after a report on gambling by a group from within the House of Lords last week made 66 proposals to combat problem gambling. 

17 of the EFL Championship’s 24 clubs have gambling operators as their shirt sponsors, while the division itself is sponsored by Sky Bet

The EFL believes the way that such operators financially support clubs is important to keeping many of them in business. 

EFL strongly against House of Lords’ proposals 

In their recent report, the House of Lords wanted the banning of shirt and venue sponsorships and advertising. Clubs below the Premier League would be given a three-year exemption to find their feet and source new means of sponsorship. 

The EFL, however, thinks this is a bad idea. They said the following. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic represents perhaps the biggest challenge to the finances of EFL clubs in their history.  

“With over £40 million a season paid by the sector to the League and its clubs, the significant contribution betting companies make to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional football at all levels is as important now as it has ever been.  

“The League firmly believes a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms that is also sympathetic to the economic needs of sport will be of much greater benefit than the blunt instrument of blanket bans.  

“It is our belief that sports organisations can work with the Government and the gambling industry to ensure partnerships are activated in a responsible fashion.”

Clubs already struggling due to the virus 

Only last week, Championship side Wigan Athletic went into administration. They are now facing a 12-point deduction, which would drop them from 16th to bottom. The Latics will be seven points from safety if this happens, making relegation – and therefore further financial hits – likely. 

Much of the club’s struggles have been pinpointed to the three-month absence that English football had to endure during the pandemic. As the Daily Mail wrote…

“Wigan were unbeaten in six before the coronavirus crisis struck English football, with all second tier action grinding to a halt on March 8. 

“The 106 days between the draw with Luton Town and the win over Huddersfield Town has seemingly tipped a club that was already just about managing to stay afloat over the edge.” 

The UK government is due to review the 2005 Gambling Act at some stage. This has been supported by the Premier League. 

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