Why UK football clubs and shirts sponsorship could face possible changes

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Brands have known football clubs to be a fantastic medium for publicity owing to the massive global fan base most FCs have. 

However, these clubs could be prevented from exhibiting the logos of gambling firms on jerseys and playing shirts as part of some new stringent advertising laws being considered at the moment. Reports available in the Daily Mail and The Times suggest the UK government is currently weighing up the pros and likely cons of a blanket ban on gambling firm kit sponsorships.

This can be considered a big move that would hit the Championship and Premier League hard in terms of finances.

Government Concerns

There has been a mounting concern at the government's apex level regarding gambling addiction and its many societal dangers in recent times. This pressure is likely to persuade the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the necessity to enact a blanket ban on shirt sponsorships by all gambling firms this autumn. 

According to the recent changes, football clubs and bookmakers are quite concerned about this movement. They say that a lack of legal brand promotion will lead to the situation when players join only casino sites not with GamStop services">players join only casino sites, not with GameStop services and UKGC-licensed brands lose customers. In fact, matters are now coming to a head, with many civil servants serving notice that the most prominent state intervention in sports advertising since the ban on tobacco promotion is on the cards. 

For all indications, any such move to put a stop to playing shirt sponsorship by betting sites would be broadly welcomed by campaigners and politicians who have both argued and warned that dressing athletes and football stars as 'living billboards' has contributed to a global gambling crisis.

Possible Changes to Shirts Sponsorship

As things stand, as many as eight of the 20 Premier League clubs have deals with betting firms as playing shirt sponsors, including Newcastle United, West Ham and Leeds United. West Ham is rumoured to benefit to the tune of £10m per year courtesy of the famous Betway, while Leeds has a deal with SBOTOP to the tune of £7.8m per season. 

The Magpies also rake in millions, as they earn £7.5m per year from Fun88 online casino. In an embrace of the new intervention, Matt Zarb-Cousin, the director of a lobby group known as Clean Up Gambling, said that the new changes are fantastic. Also adding that snooker players, footballers supporting responsible gambling, darts players and rugby players are comparable to walking billboards for several gambling companies. According to him, there is evidence to prove that this sort of advertising has a huge negative impact on children who are growing up thinking that it's ok to put on a bet to enjoy various forms of sport.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who is a senior member of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling harm, also indicated support for the new changes. According to Sir Duncan, banning gambling logos on jerseys and other sportswear would be a widely embraced step, but given the risks presented by all forms of gambling, the government will be required to deal with this issue more broadly. As sports betting supports responsible gambling, there may be other ways to deal with it. 

A whole ban on all kinds of gambling advertising is long overdue, and it should be brought forward before the upcoming gambling review. The new decision could spark a new kind of huge crisis for Championship and Premier League clubs, who will face the prospect of losing a booming revenue stream at a time of financial difficulties.

The ramifications of the proposed ban are also likely to be felt far beyond the many football stadiums. This is apparent with sports such as darts, snooker and boxing all also being swept up in the ban. In fact, every of the top 10 players in the Professional Darts Corporation displays a betting logo on their sports shirt

While this change will be a shocker and have several positive and possible dangerous impacts on football clubs' pockets, there is no need for panic just yet. The implementation of any ban is the duty of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and they claim that no decision has reached or taken at this stage.

Results for The Football Clubs 

Suppose the ban on shirt sponsorship takes effect. Then, football clubs may fall into hard times financially since sponsorship from big betting sites makes up a large percentage of their revenue. Football clubs may exploit other means of making extra cash, but the ban's impact will be felt for a long time before alternative sources of income take over.