English Premier League to withdraw gambling sponsorships from shirts

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Premier League clubs have collectively agreed to stop featuring gambling sponsorships on the front of football kits from the 2026-27 season, the English top flight said on Thursday.

Eight of the 20 clubs in the league currently have betting companies as shirt sponsors, including Newcastle United (Fun88), West Ham United (Betway) and Everton (Stake.com). Aston Villa have also signed a deal with gambling firm BK8 for the next three seasons.

The British government is expected to publish a white paper – a proposal for future legislation – on gambling regulation. Gambling sponsors on the front of football shirts have already been outlawed in Italy and Spain.

According to a report in The Times, ministers have signalled that the white paper will not include shirt sponsorship restrictions if the voluntary agreement was reached. The report added that sleeve deals are still permitted.

“Premier League clubs have today collectively agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of clubs’ matchday shirts,” the league said in a statement.

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“The announcement follows an extensive consultation involving the league, its clubs and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of the government’s ongoing review of current gambling legislation.

“To assist clubs with their transition away from shirt-front gambling sponsorship, the collective agreement will begin at the end of the 2025-26 season.”

The Premier League added that it was working with other sports on “the development of a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship”.

Britain’s Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer welcomed the Premier League’s announcement.

“The vast majority of adults gamble safely but we have to recognise that footballers are role models who have enormous influence on young people. We want to work with institutions like the Premier League to do the right thing for young fans,” Frazer said.

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“We will soon bring forward a Gambling White Paper to update protections for punters and ensure those who are at risk of gambling harm and addiction are protected.”

However, James Grimes, a recovering gambling addict who founded the Big Step, a lobby group aiming to make clubs sever links with gambling companies, told The Guardian: “Today’s announcement is a significant acceptance of the harm caused by gambling sponsorship. No gambling ads are seen more than those on Premier League shirts, worn by billions around the world.

“But just moving logos to a different part of the kit while allowing pitchside advertising and league sponsorship to continue is totally incoherent.

“Without government action on all forms of gambling ads in football, at every level, online casinos will exploit any voluntary measures and continue to market their products through our national sport.”

Reuters/AFP

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