Labour pledge to end gambling sponsorship on football shirts
Labour would ban gambling operators from advertising on football shirts, the party's deputy leader Tom Watson has announced.
Watson, who is also shadow culture secretary, said a Labour government would encourage the football authorities to bring in their own ban but would legislate if required.
Nine of the 20 English Premier League teams have gambling firms as shirt sponsors, although the majority target Asian markets rather than British customers, while 14 Championship clubs have gambling shirt sponsors.
Earlier this year the Football Association ended its partnership with Ladbrokes and announced it would no longer have sponsorships with betting companies.
Watson told the Guardian: "Shirt sponsorship sends out a message that football clubs don’t take problem gambling among their own fans seriously enough. 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."
He went on: "Just as tobacco companies were banned from sponsoring sporting events and putting their logos on branded goods because of the harm smoking can cause, it's right that we recognise the harm problem gambling does and take gambling logos off football shirts.
"With new evidence showing gambling addiction rising, at huge cost to individuals and their families, to society and to the taxpayer, the clubs should follow the FA's lead."
The Remote Gambling Association said there was no evidence linking shirt sponsorship to problem gambling levels but that sponsorship was likely to be part of the government's ongoing review of gambling advertising.
They also pointed out that the industry advertising code already prohibited gambling companies from sponsoring or having their logos on any sporting merchandise for use by under 18s, including replica kits.
However they added: "Whatever the outcome of the government’s review we will work constructively with them to make any necessary improvements."
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