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Report: Premier League clubs to agree to voluntary betting shirt sponsor ban

Sleeve deals set to be retained as teams push for changes to be phased in over three seasons.

19 July 2022 Ed Dixon

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  • Seven Premier League clubs have main partnerships with betting brands
  • Curtailing front-of-shirt sponsorships could cost clubs UK£5m to UK£10m a year
  • Vote on proposals expected to be delayed until September

Clubs in English top-flight soccer’s Premier League are set to agree to a voluntary ban on betting shirt sponsorships, according to The Times.

The proposal, which is reportedly subject to certain conditions and a transition period, will be discussed at a Premier League shareholders’ meeting next week. The plan needs the agreement from 14 of the league’s 20 teams to go through.

The Times reports that clubs want the voluntary ban to only affect front-of-shirt sponsorship deals and not sleeve tie-ups. Teams also want it to be phased in over three seasons so that those who already have deals in place are not directly affected.

There is also said to be pressure from clubs for the voluntary ban to be recognised by the UK government as it is likely to cause a financial hit. According to The Times, income could be cut by UK£5 million (US$6 million) to UK£10 million (US$12 million) per season.

As result, teams want this to be taken into account in the negotiations over the amount of money the Premier League should give to the English Football League (EFL), the organising body for the second, third and fourth tiers of English soccer.

Clubs have opted to take action in response to the threat of the government bringing in legislation that would make shirt sponsorship by betting firms illegal.

Ministers are reportedly not looking at similar action for EFL teams due to the financial hardship it would cause. In October 2020, the EFL said that revenues from gambling partnerships were vital in keeping clubs afloat.

Currently, none of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ teams have betting shirt sponsorships, though seven of the other 14 clubs do. Newly-promoted Fulham and Nottingham Forest are yet to confirm their shirt deals for the 2022/23 campaign.

The Times reports that clubs are expected to delay a final vote until September when the political picture is clearer. The government has postponed a whitepaper on gambling reform until a successor to Boris Johnson takes over as prime minister.

The Times had initially reported in June that proposals to ban British soccer clubs from having betting firms as shirt sponsors would be dropped, though the government was believed to be hoping to reach a voluntary agreement with Premier League clubs.

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