Ministerial resignations prompt Premier League to delay betting sponsor vote

The Premier League has postponed its planned vote on the future of betting shirt sponsorships due to the UK’s chaotic political situation, Sky News reports. 

Earlier this week, sources suggested that the English top-flight had requested its clubs to vote on a measure which would see sponsorship deals with betting operators phased out over a three-year period. 

The League had allegedly previously entered into negotiations with the government, suggesting to then DCMS Gambling Minister Chris Philp that front-of-shirt sponsors could be removed, but logos on sleeves could remain – the Minister was said to be considering the idea.

However, with Philp now one of over 50 MPs to have resigned in protest against Boris Johnson’s leadership, and the Prime Minister himself having announced that he will step down as Conservative Party leader, the League has apparently decided to half its vote until the political situation stabilises.

The DCMS was due to make a decision on the future of the Premier League’s betting arrangements by 21 July, with the White Paper on the 2005 Gambling Act review also slated for publication later this month. 

Earlier this week, the Croydon South MP faced questions on gambling policy from the DCMS oversight committee, after the White Paper publication was delayed from its initial scheduled publication date in the Spring. 

Issuing a statement yesterday, the outgoing Minister said that the review is ‘with No 10’, and that the White Paper was still on track for publication, containing ‘strong measures to protect people from the ravages of gambling addiction’.

Additionally, Nigel Huddleston – the DCMS Parliamentary Under-Secretaryof State, and one of the Minister’s yet to vacate their position – has asserted that the Gambling Act review judgement will be revealed ‘in the coming weeks’.

Football’s relationship with betting has been a key talking point throughout the Gambling Act review, and reform advocates have repeatedly called for an outright ban on betting shirt sponsorships from the Premier League to the lower-levels.

However, with Johnson’s resignation apparently imminent and Jacob Rees-Mogg informing Channel 4 that no bills will be signed into law within the next three months, any closure on the long-running legislative overhaul is unlikely for the foreseeable future.

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