Sponsor deal

William Hill preparing to inject £10m into SPFL

Neil Doncaster
Neil Doncaster: deal in place

Bookmaker William Hill is poised to invest a record £10 million into the Scottish Professional Football League over five years.

It is understood a deal has already been agreed in principle by the clubs, which will see clubs receive £2m per year compared with the £1.6m paid by online car deal Cinch.

William Hill, now part of 888 Holdings, sponsored the Scottish Cup between 2011 and 2020. It stepped in with a £1m a year deal after the Scottish Football Association went four years without a sponsor for the tournament.

The league has been looking for a new main sponsor since Cinch announced last year it was ending its deal with Scottish football.

It agreed a five-year contract in 2021 but exercised its right to walk away after three years.

That followed a legal dispute between the SPFL and Rangers, which saw the Ibrox club refuse to promote the title sponsor.

Cinch chief customer officer Robert Bridge said the partnership with the SPFL had been been “an important factor” in raising the brand’s awareness but that the company is “evolving their marketing focus”.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster hinted at the weekend that a new deal was in place.

“Cinch are coming out of the contract this summer and I am optimistic that we will have a replacement sponsor for the start of the new season,” he said.

The Scottish Greens called on the SPFL to reject the offer from a gambling company.

Last year, English Premier League teams voluntarily agreed to ditch gambling sponsors from the front of their shirts in order to tackle widespread addiction amongst football supporters in the UK.

Greens oppose gambling promotion

Scottish Greens sports spokesperson, Gillian Mackay MSP, said: “This is a really disappointing announcement. There is no doubt that Scottish football needs support, but we all know about the deep wounds gambling addiction has caused in communities all across our country.

“What message does this send? We’ve seen high profile cases of players and managers facing suspension from football due to the damage it has done, and there will be fans of all clubs suffering in silence.

“The English Premier League has seen welcome steps, with clubs in the league voluntarily agreeing to end gambling sponsorship on their strips, helping to remove their logos from the spotlight.

“Unfortunately, the SPFL have taken a different approach. By putting gambling companies front and centre of Scottish Football they are putting profits before the welfare of supporters, players and staff.

“Tobacco sponsorship in football ended a long time ago, and for good reason. It is time for alcohol and gambling to be treated the same way.

“I hope that the SPFL reconsiders this deal and puts football fans and communities first.”

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