Sponsor move

SPFL will not follow English gambling ban

Rangers celebrate Scottish Cup win 2022

Rangers is among the Scottish clubs with gambling deals

Scotland’s football authorities have no plans to follow the decision by England’s Premier League clubs to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of players’ shirts.

The English Premier League ban will come into place by the end of the 2025-26 season.

But the Scottish Professional Football League said that “individual sponsorships are a matter for each club. There are no plans for a league-wide proscription of such deals.”

In a statement it added that: “For many SPFL clubs, sponsorship from gambling companies is a significant source of income which helps to support their business models and enables investment in many of the important community activities which clubs undertake.”

Betting firms have deals with three Scottish Premiership clubs – Celtic with Dafabet, Rangers with 32Red and Unibet and Dundee United with QuinnCasino.

A consultation between the English Premier League, its clubs and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport led to yesterday’a announcement.

Eight English top-flight clubs – Brentford, Bournemouth, Everton, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton and West Ham – currently have deals with gambling companies, worth an estimated £60m per year.

Aston Villa announced in January that the club had agreed a deal with Malaysian online casino BK8 as new shirt sponsor for next season. There was a backlash from fans but the club said it needed the money.

Campaigners demanding a ban say gambling sponsorship in football has normalised the industry and that tighter regulation is needed to protect children and other vulnerable groups.

Former Scotland First Minister and one-time professional footballer Henry McLeish described the English move as a “small but significant step forward”.

He added: “I am disappointed at the SPFL’s response because it seems to be not tenable to argue that it is a matter for the clubs.

“It is not a good decision on the back of what is happening in England.”

He added: “How much of an effort is the SPFL making to bring in sponsorship that would be a better image for Scotland and the game? I don’t think they are trying hard enough.”

Accusing the authorities of “laziness”, he called for a review of sponsorship of football clubs that would focus on wellbeing, fitness and mental health.

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