Labour calls for ban on football shirt betting sponsorship

The Labour Party has said that it will introduce a ban on gambling companies sponsoring football teams’ shirts, if it is elected to power in the UK.

According to the BBC, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said that football has to “play its part in tackling Britain’s hidden epidemic of gambling addiction”.

Nine teams in the English Premier League top tier currently carry branding from betting or gambling companies on their shirts, while three clubs in the Scottish Premiership have similar deals in place.

Watson, who also serves as Labour’s shadow culture secretary, said that the shirt sponsorship deals grant gambling companies “massive exposure” to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

“Shirt sponsorship sends out a message that football clubs don’t take problem gambling among their own fans seriously enough,” Watson said.

“It puts gambling brands in front of fans of all ages, not just at matches but on broadcasts and highlights packages on both commercial television and the BBC.”

Current English Football Association rules ban any form of gambling sponsorship from appearing on under-18 teams’ shirts, and Labour is keen to extend this to all sides.

Labour said that if elected, it will work with the FA to implement the rule change.

Earlier this year, the FA ended its commercial partnership with Ladbrokes in the wake of a high-profile case involving former Premier League player Joey Barton.

Barton was found to have placed over 1,200 bets on matches between March 26, 2006, and May 13, 2016, which is in direct conflict with strict FA betting rules.

Following a review, the FA board concluded that it would end all sponsorships with betting companies from the end of the 2016-17 season.

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