Premier League clubs banned from using gambling sponsorships on matchday shirt fronts

West Ham players argue with referee
West Ham one of eight Premier League clubs sponsored by gambling firms

Premier League clubs have collectively agreed to remove gambling sponsorships from the front of their matchday shirts at the end of the 2025-26 season.

However, after the deadline, clubs can continue to display gambling branding in areas such as shirt sleeves and LED advertising.

Clubs will be allowed to secure new shirt deals before the deadline.

Eight top-flight clubs feature gambling companies on the front of their shirts, worth an estimated £60m a year.

The announcement follows consultations between the league, its clubs and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as part of the government’s ongoing review of current gambling legislation.

The decision would make the Premier League the first sporting league in the UK to voluntarily take such steps to reduce gambling advertising.

The league is also working with other sports to develop new guidelines for responsible gaming sponsorship.

A Gambling white paper expected to be released by the government after reviewing gambling legislation.

The government is not expected to propose a ban on gambling sponsorship and the plan is for the Premier League to voluntarily agree to the change.

the plan is basically agree Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson before leaving office.

What is the background?

Campaigners backing a wider ban say football betting sponsorship has normalized the industry and that stricter regulation is needed to protect children and other vulnerable groups.

The Gaming and Gambling Commission, which represents the industry, said the “vast majority” of the 22.5 million people who gamble each month in the UK did so “safely and responsibly”.

It added that “rates of problem gambling remain low by international standards, at 0.3% of the UK adult population – down from 0.4% the previous year”.

Former Conservative leader Ian Duncan Smith is part of the all-party parliamentary gambling-related harms group, which has been lobbying the government for tougher protections.

“Right now, we probably have the most lenient gambling laws in the world,” he said.

Aston Villa’s fan advisory group met chief executive Christian Purslow in January following reports the club had signed a deal with Asian bookmaker BK8. It later issued a statement saying: “The commercial reality is that, for teams outside the top six, such sponsors provide twice as much money to clubs as non-gambling companies”.

The Premier League has previously said “a self-regulatory approach would provide a practical and flexible alternative to legislation or outright bans”.

A collective agreement has been reached to introduce a ban after 2025-26 to help clubs transition away from shirt gambling sponsorship.

The English Football League (EFL), which is sponsored by Sky Bet, has previously said any ban on gambling sponsorship for its 72 members would cost the club £40m a year.

“Although this result is not perfect, it is a huge improvement”

According to The Big Step, a campaign to end gambling advertising and football sponsorship led by people harmed by gambling, just over three years ago nearly 30 clubs in the Premier League and Champions League were in their league. A gambling company is printed on the front of the jersey.

“With today’s announcement, we’re getting closer to zero,” The Big Step said in a statement.external link “This is a significant acceptance of the harm done by gambling sponsorship.

“But just moving the logo to a different part of the shirt while allowing pitchside advertising and league sponsorships to continue is completely incoherent.

“If the government does not act on all forms of gambling advertising in football, then online casinos will take any voluntary steps at every level and continue to market their products through our national sport.

“While this result is not perfect, it is a huge step forward. The government and the sport itself now need to wake up to the fact that gambling advertising is unhealthy, unpopular and will be kicked out of football. Delaying that moment will Endangering the health and the lives of another generation of young fans.”

‘Some will question the timetable’

Analysis – BBC football reporter Simon Stone

The Premier League’s move will not come into effect until 2026, and some will question that timeline and whether clubs can sign new shirt deals by then.

However, the move is welcome as it is taking a new strategy around a social issue that has begun to become increasingly problematic.

As with alcohol, the link between gambling and football is likely to last forever. Yet, like alcohol, the prominence of advertising surrounding gambling is becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

Of course, the Premier League is better positioned to execute such a move because its huge TV deals protect clubs. The English Football League is not in such a favorable position.

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