Rick Parry, chairman of the English Football League (EFL), has warned that banning gambling sponsorship would be detrimental to smaller clubs.
The UK government will review gambling legislation in the coming weeks and anti-gambling groups have highlighted football sponsorships with betting companies contributing to the rise in gambling addiction.
But Parry feels this is unnecessary and would only lead to smaller clubs losing revenue. “There’s no evidence to suggest that banning sponsorship will reduce the prevalence of problem gambling,” he said.
He added that the EFL, which is sponsored by Sky Bet, will submit a case to the review that will look to prove that the rise of problem gambling isn’t associated with football sponsorships.
The global pandemic has impacted sports globally, with even the largest franchises losing revenue from the lack of fans in stadiums. However, no one has felt this impact more strongly than smaller clubs.
With ticket sales down, small clubs don’t have global fan bases to recover like other larger clubs. According to Deloitte, ticket sales were more than one-fifth of total revenues from Championship clubs in 2018-19.
Parry says that the banning of gambling sponsorships can lead to more than £40m loss in revenue, a sum he says that clubs across the EFL can’t afford to lose.
Twenty-four clubs in the Championship have gambling companies as a shirt sponsor, and imposing a ban on them would be catastrophic, according to Parry.