Premier League halts vote on gambling sponsorship ban amid Westminster turmoil | business news

The Premier League has postponed a vote on a voluntary ban on shirt sponsorship by gaming companies as the political crisis in Westminster threatens to delay crucial industry reforms.

Sky News has learned the Premier League emailed the top 20 clubs, including Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, on Thursday that a deadline for curbside support had been scrapped.

Instead, according to club officers, the proposals will be discussed at a previously scheduled shareholders’ meeting on July 26.

The delay comes within hours after Chris Philp, the gambling secretary, resigned along with dozens of colleagues as they attempted to force Boris Johnson out of office.

Mr Philp was due to table a white paper on gambling reform in the coming weeks, with the threat of legislation to eliminate gambling brands appearing on Premier League shirts still on the table.

An industry source said the delay could be interpreted as an attempt by anti-gambling campaigners to exploit the crisis that has engulfed Mr Johnson and his government.

On Monday, Sky News revealed the Premier League was seeking the support of clubs for a voluntary ban that would wipe betting companies off teams’ shirts within the next three years.

Under the proposal, a voluntary ban would come into effect at the start of the coming season but would allow existing contracts to continue provided they expire no later than the 2024-25 season.

A club officer said there was a desire for further discussion of the plans before they were put to a vote.

Premier League rules mean the approval of at least 14 clubs is required for a vote to be authorised.

An executive at another club said the Premier League had indicated the ban on betting sponsorship was intended to be permanent but would be subject to a clause which it could lift in certain circumstances with two years’ notice.

Perimeter advertising by gaming companies would continue, according to one of the recipients of Monday’s proposal.

The issue is a sensitive one for the leading clubs in English football with so many relying on income from the gambling sector.

Almost half of Premier League clubs, including Newcastle United and West Ham, were sponsored by bookmakers last season, although the Magpies are likely to secure a replacement for Fun88 after next season.

Other shirt sponsors from last season included SpreadEx Sport in West Ham, Hollywood Bet in Brentford and in Southampton.

A football finance analyst suggested that the big six clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – were likely to support a voluntary ban as none of them had existing shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

Still, the Premier League proposal, if adopted in its current form later this month, would anger anti-gambling campaigners as it would not trigger an immediate and total ban on the gambling industry, which remains present in stadiums and on shirts, the most competitively-watched national soccer tournament in the world.

A DCMS spokesman said last week: “We are conducting the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years to ensure they are fit for the digital age. We will be publishing a white paper as part of a review of gambling legislation in the coming weeks.”

The Premier League declined to comment.

Premier League halts vote on gambling sponsorship ban amid Westminster turmoil | business news

Source link Premier League halts vote on gambling sponsorship ban amid Westminster turmoil | business news

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