The left-wing party has suggested that it will eliminate any chances of children being exposed to gambling by removing betting sponsors from football shirts.
All football clubs, in all leagues, will be forbidden to have betting companies featured on their shirts as sponsors if Labour were ever to get into power. The party aims to destroy the implications that arise when children see betting companies on their football kits, the largest implication being leading children into gambling.
This new policy will apparently be the first of many that will attempt to decrease the power what gambling firms have, and applying pressure on the government ahead of its review of the gambling industry.
The policy, which was revealed by Labour Party deputy leader and shadow minister for DCMS (digital, culture media and sport), Tom Watson, announced that the party would encourage the FA to introduce a ban to all clubs to not include gambling sponsorships on their shirts.
On the matter, he has stated that:
“Football has to play its part in tackling Britain’s hidden epidemic of gambling addiction,”
“Shirt sponsorship sends out a message that football clubs don’t take problem gambling among their own fans seriously enough. It puts gambling brands in front of fans of all ages, not just at matches but on broadcasts and highlights packages on both commercial television and the BBC.”
It is evident that almost half of all Premier League clubs have gambling sponsorships featured on their shirts, with Newcastle, West Ham and Everton being amongst those clubs. The same trend also occurs in the Championship and League one, in a bid to gain more money through the sponsorships.
Tom Watson has compared this ‘issue’ with the ban of tobacco companies featuring on shirts, which was passed in 2005. He said:
“Just as tobacco companies were banned from sponsoring sporting events and putting their logos on branded goods because of the harm smoking can cause,”
“It’s right that we recognise the harm problem gambling does and take gambling logos off football shirts.”
With the rise of problem gamblers across the nation, Watson has suggested that the FA and football clubs should be careful with dealing with gambling companies. Only last month, the Gambling Commission announced that there were 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK.
He added: “With new evidence showing gambling addiction raising, at huge cost to individuals and their families, to society and to the taxpayer, the clubs should follow the FA’s lead,”
It is now apparent that betting companies and logos are being displayed on our televisions far too long during games, thus having large influences on millions who are watching. It has become impossible for viewers not to see logos and offers, as University of London revealed that logos and branding featured on our screens 71% of the time when even watching Match of the Day, a show on BBC that has no adverts.
The Digital, Culture media and Sport department will publish a report on the matter, which will include all proposals to tackle this issue.