Legislative ban inbound
The English Premier League (EPL) has urged its teams to phase out front-of-shirt sponsorship agreements with gambling comanies. League officials believe that a legislative ban could be inbound unless they take the drastic action.
phase out front-of-shirt betting sponsorship within three years
According to a Sky News report on Monday, the EPL has asked its 20 top-flight franchises to agree to phase out the deals within three years. The media source quotes one franchise executive confirming that the deadline for responding to the EPL is “just days.”
Last week, The Times reported that ministers have dropped plans to introduce a ban on the sponsorship deals. However, the EPL has reportedly claimed that this is “inaccurate,” believing that the government will soon impose a ban unless a voluntary phasing out is agreed.
Just 14 needed
If the EPL gets its wish, the league will impose a voluntary ban on the sponsorships from the 2022-23 season. The franchises that already have these types of deals in place will get three years’ grace to see out their terms.
If at least 14 EPL clubs agree to the voluntary ban, the measure would come into place immediately, according to the soccer governing body’s rules. As reported by Sky, a Whitehall source has confirmed that “ministers would support an agreement if passed by the requisite majority of clubs.”
A soccer finance analyst has also posited that the biggest clubs in the EPL — Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United — would back a voluntary ban because none of them have any gambling-related shirt sponsorships.
The EPL’s move on Monday represents just another twist in the UK betting reform rollercoaster ride, both for gambling operators and the soccer clubs that have grown to rely on their revenue.
Last week’s leaked report of the shirt ban getting tossed would have come as welcome news for Everton, who had in June agreed with Stake its “highest value front-of-shirt deal in the Club’s 144-year history.”
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace and Newcastle have taken the opposite approach to Everton, by already serving notice on their respective gambling sponsors, W88 and FUN88.