LONDON: In a significant reversal of an increasingly concerning trend in English football, the Football Association has decided to cut all sponsorship links with betting companies.
The move comes at a time when more and more gambling outfits are throwing sponsorship cash at club deals while the game at large is being assailed by escalating doubts about the associated ethics.
An FA statement said its decision followed a three-month review of its relationship with the gambling industry.
The organisation’s own £4m-a-year deal with Ladbrokes was signed only last year but has found that it cannot take the money on the one hand while administering regulations which bar players, for example, from gambling on their game.
FA ceo Martin Glenn said: “We would like to thank Ladbrokes for both being a valued partner over the last year and for their professionalism and understanding about our change of policy around gambling.”
Jim Mullen, ceo of Ladbrokes Coral, said: “We understand The FA’s decision regarding their commercial partnerships on gambling.
“Football is a passion of ours, and our customers, and we remain committed to working with The FA to ensure the integrity and trust of the sport is maintained for the fans of the game and the millions of customers who enjoy betting on it week in and week out.”
More than half of the Premier League feature betting companies as their main shirt sponsors, while the three divisions of the English Football League have SkyBet as their title partner.
There was also the incident in the FA’s own cup competition during the fifth round tie between Sutton United and Arsenal, when goalkeeper Warren Shaw ate a pie ‘live on air’ admitting afterward that he had prior knowledge of Sun Bets offering 8-1 odds of him doing so.