Premier League Soccer Clubs Reportedly Back Voluntary Ban of Gambling Sponsorships

The UK government is currently in a heightened state of chaos, which is causing a delay in the release of its updated gambling laws. Although it might not include a forced ban on gambling sponsorships in sports, English Premier League (EPL) teams are reportedly ready to agree to a voluntary ban.

The English Premier League logo. UK soccer clubs in the league are reportedly in favor of a ban on shirt sponsorships by gambling companies. (Image: Sky Sports)

The UK is on a mission to push as large a wedge as it can between sports betting and sports. It’s working, too, as gambling opponents continue their efforts to paint all-things-gambling in a negative light.

The concept of a forced ban was a topic that MPs discussed for months before the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) decided it wasn’t necessary. Instead, it wanted to work with EPL teams on a voluntary ban that is now close to launch.

EPL Teams Support Sponsorship Ban

EPL clubs have to overwhelming support the idea of a voluntary ban for the league to implement it. Although they were going to meet and potentially vote on the idea, the clubs delayed any decision because of the political turmoil in the country.

There will still be a meeting of the minds later this month to discuss whether the ban is viable. However, according to the EPL, the organization won’t hold a vote until September. The clubs may have already made their decision, though, as The Times reports that a majority of the teams are in favor of a voluntary ban.

14 of the 20 clubs agree that the idea has merit. However, if things don’t change between now and the time the EPL holds its vote, that’s enough for the league to implement the ban.

Currently, seven top-flight teams have front-of-shirt sponsors in the gaming industry. Two teams, Fulham and Nottingham Forest, have not released information on who their main shirt sponsors will be for the upcoming season.

The ban will most likely extend only to front-of-shirt sponsorships. Most teams want to be able to hold onto sleeve sponsorships, which are less intrusive and might not cause an uproar with regulators and gambling opponents.

EFL Teams Could Lose EPL Support

As the arrangement is currently structured, the ban would apply only to EPL teams, not to English Football League (EFL) clubs. There are 72 in the league that participate in the Championship, League One and League Two leagues.

The EPL gives EFL clubs financial assistance every season in the form of parachute and solidarity payments. Of this assistance, 64 clubs receive solidarity payments.

However, they may lose some of that revenue. As EPL teams lose high-paying sponsorships, they expect to lose a combined income of £5 million to £10 million (US$6 million to $12 million) per season. As a result, they could use that as justification for reducing their EFL payments.

The UK government’s white paper on gambling won’t arrive until the government finds a new Prime Minister, as well as other ministers who resigned. Following the elections, the new arrivals will want to have a role in finalizing the new gambling laws. Because of this, both the white paper and any EPL decision are still likely months away.

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