FA Considers Ending Sponsorship Deals With Bookmakers
The FA is "considering ending" its partnerships with betting firms, according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. FA Chair Greg Clarke "ordered a report into whether it is appropriate for the governing body of the sport to have official relationships" with gambling firms and alcohol companies. A decision is expected to be made by the FA board this summer. Clarke said that he asked FA execs at the start of the season to produce the report and added that the move is "not related to criticism of the FA’s partnership with Ladbrokes" after Joey Barton was given an 18-month ban last month for gambling on matches. The FA also has commercial agreements with alcoholic drinks companies Carling, Budweiser and Carlsberg. The "long-term" deal with Ladbrokes was "only agreed in June last year and insiders say that it is worth more than double" the £2M ($2.6M)-a-year deal that the FA previously had with William Hill. Clarke: "We are actively considering what our position will be and should be." Even if the FA "decides to stop having betting partners, there is no suggestion that clubs will be prevented" from having sponsorship deals with gambling companies. Clarke said, "The FA will decide what is appropriate for a governing body, and there is a set of tests we would apply, and they will be different to what should apply to clubs as for a governing body they should be higher" (LONDON TIMES, 5/5).
GAMBLING PROBLEM: In London, Josh Noble commented the EPL "has a gambling problem." Anyone watching live football on TV "will be inundated with pleas to log into a betting account and place a wager on the final score." English football’s "huge global audience makes it a key battleground in the cut-throat industry of online gambling." Convincing people to bet is "one challenge." For the EPL, "the money is too good to say no." Gaming income is "especially important for smaller clubs trying to compete in the financial arms race." Despite "bumper TV deals, football is still often a lossmaking industry." With "the financial interests of broadcasters, advertisers and England's clubs so interwoven, the prospects for change appear grim" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/5).