FA announces end to all sponsorship deals with betting companies

Decision comes after three-month review into betting sponsorship

Decision comes after three-month review into betting sponsorship.

FA’s current partnership with Ladbrokes to be terminated this month.

The Football Association will no longer have a betting partner after terminating a contract with Ladbrokes worth around £4m a year following a string of high-profile gambling controversies in the sport.

The decision follows a three-month review by the governing body into how appropriate such a deal was when the FA is noticeably becoming stricter in enforcing its ban on those connected with the game gambling on football.

It also comes after Joey Barton, serving an 18-month ban for gambling offences, accused the FA of hypocrisy over the deal. It had three years of a four-year contract to run. The chief executive, Martin Glenn, said: “We would like to thank Ladbrokes for both being a valued partner over the last year and for their professionalism and understanding about our change of policy around gambling.”

The EFL said the FA decision had no bearing on its own partnership with Sky Bet, which is in its fifth year. A spokesman said: “The EFL is of the firm belief that there is no conflict in having a commercial relationship with the gaming industry, as it is the FA who have the ultimate responsibility of enforcing any breach of the existing betting rules that all those who participate in our competitions have to adhere to.”

The FA chairman, Greg Clarke, has led the move to put space between the governing body and bookmakers, although he insisted the review was not linked to the Barton case. The player, who was banned in April having placed 1,260 bets on matches between 2006 and 2013, claimed this amounted to “hush money” and that it might prevent the ruling body from discovering match-fixing.

He told The Sunday Times last week: “What are the FA going to do, march into Ladbrokes and say: ‘Show us everyone who’s had a bet on this game?’ Ladbrokes are going to say: ‘Eff off, we pay you £10m a year [sic], keep your mouth shut.’ Do the FA not understand that’s hush money? Because if they don’t do it to Ladbrokes, they can’t do it to Betfair, Paddy Power, William Hill.

“They’ve given me such a harsh sentence because they want to maintain to the world, to the people who buy TV rights, that this is a very high-integrity game here. People who work for betting companies have told me that’s the key issue. The FA have no actual interest in [tackling] betting. And they can’t solve the problem, especially when they’ve got Ladbrokes as a partner. Because the players are going: ‘I’m not doing anything wrong.’”

The EFL said it would not be reconsidering its title sponsorship with SkyBet in light of the FA’s decision, arguing there was no conflict of interest.

“The EFL (as a competition organiser) is of the firm belief that there is no conflict in having a commercial relationship with the gaming industry, as it is the FA who have the ultimate responsibility of enforcing any breach of the existing betting rules that all those who participate in our competitions have to adhere to,” said a spokesman.

Soorce: The Guardian

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