Peter Shilton backs decision to stop sponsoring football jersey gambling games and rejects claims Premier League clubs need money to survive
- The government will ban gambling companies from sponsoring football shirts
- Peter Shilton welcomed plans to stop betting sponsorship on football shirts
- He has rejected claims that clubs need money from gambling companies to survive
- Nine Premier League clubs have betting companies as front-of-shirt sponsors
Peter Shilton applauds plans to stop sponsoring gambling games on football shirts and rejects the argument that clubs need money from gambling companies to survive.
Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday that the government plans to propose a ban for gambling companies from being front-of-shirt sponsors when it publishes its white paper following the revision of the gambling law.
Shilton, England’s most awarded men’s footballer, struggled with a gambling addiction for 45 years, leading him to launch his Shilton’s Soccer Shirt Gambling Ban campaign earlier this year with his wife Steph.
Peter Shilton (above) applauds plans to stop sponsoring betting games on football shirts and rejects claims that clubs need money from betting companies to survive
Government to ban gambling companies from sponsoring football shirts (Photo: West Ham sponsored by betway left, Wolves sponsored by ManBetX right)
The former goalkeeper took his campaign to Downing Street last week, where he handed over a petition signed by 12,000 and a personal letter to Boris Johnson, writing that ‘banning gambling advertising on football shirts should be a priority for our government. ‘.
Responding to Sportsmail’s story, Shilton said: “This is encouraging news, which Steph and I are very happy about. It would be a great step.
‘Football shirt advertising is a back door to make betting attractive to children. Young people see pictures of their heroes with the name of a gambling company on the shirt and that normalizes it.
‘The number of children taking up gambling and the number of addicted gamblers is constantly increasing. Football needs to clean up its act.
‘We have to look at billboards as well as shirts, because they are all interrelated. Shirts would be a good start, but it’s not enough.’
Nine of the 20 Premier League clubs have betting companies as title sponsors this season. Analysis by data and analytics firm GlobalData estimates top clubs will lose £60m a year from the ban.
“Mid to lower Premier League clubs have become increasingly dependent on the sector to help reduce the financial disparity between themselves and those clubs at the top of the table,” said GlobalData’s Liam Fox.
“Therefore, the ban is likely to further widen this gap, as gambling brands have been willing to sponsor at inflated prices, leaving betting sponsor clubs likely to face lower fees for their shirt rights.”
The Premier League has warned that no decision should be made without first identifying how existing sponsorship revenue will be replaced.
But Shilton, who describes his gambling history in his new book Saved, said, “I’m not going to join that argument. There are plenty of clubs that don’t have betting companies on their shirts and that survive. It’s a bad model for a company if you have to rely on gambling companies to survive.’
In the Championship, six clubs have betting companies as main shirt sponsors. Derby and Middlesbrough are both sponsored by 32Red, which is owned by the Kindred Group.
Neil Banbury, the general manager of Kindred in the UK, told Sportsmail: ‘There is no solid evidence of a causal relationship between advertising and the development of problem gambling.
“Discussions about bans and measures in the style of a ban on a legitimate industry enjoyed by millions are blunt measures that we must strive to do better.
“It’s clear that campaigners aren’t just stopping at shirt front sponsorship, but are instead seeing this as a first step towards a total advertising ban and more. Kindred Group is instead in favor of raising the standard of sports sponsorship in the UK.
“There is a role for licensed, responsible and UK-based operators to be able to support English football – with that same level of access limited to those who don’t meet those criteria.”
Question and answer
Why is this change happening now?
The Gambling Act was passed in 2005, but technological advances have led to an explosion of gambling companies sponsoring sports, raising concerns about gambling-related harm.
The government’s 2019 manifesto promised to review the regulations to “fit for the digital age.” In December 2020, a broad overhaul of the gambling laws was finally launched.
Following a call for evidence earlier this year, ministers are now preparing a white paper of proposals, including a ban on gambling companies as front-of-shirt sponsors.
Will other forms of gambling advertising be banned?
While ministers appear to agree on removing gambling logos from shirts, talks are underway about how far the new regulations should go.
Both sides are lobbying hard. Reformers say a ban on shirt sponsorship would be pointless if ads continued to appear on stadium billboards and on TV. However, sports boards and clubs are desperate not to lose a valuable source of income.
What happens to clubs that are already locked into sponsorship deals?
A front-shirt ban is unlikely until at least the 2023-24 season, as a bill is still months away from going to parliament. Still, clubs have been preparing for a rule change by entering into short-term sponsorship deals or entering clauses.
In the championship, teams are going away from betting on sponsors on uniforms. This summer saw an increase in deals with financial trading companies, which should avoid new regulations.