Premier League clubs will meet next week to hold definitive talks on whether to impose a voluntary ban on gambling shirt sponsorships.
On Monday afternoon, The Times reported that a meeting of EPL shareholders will take place next week – as pressure mounts on the top-tier of English football to end its relationship with betting.
The meeting is expected to settle the definitive terms upon which a ban on gambling shirt sponsorships will be adopted.
However, EPL clubs will hold their final vote on banning shirt sponsorships in September, as the ‘political picture is clearer’ with regards to PM Boris Johnson’s successor and a new government’s approach to gambling sector reforms.
To be adopted, the final vote will require a majority of 14 of 20 EPL clubs to vote in favour of adopting a voluntary ban – as The Times stated that “there is enough support for it to be passed”.
As stands, club leadership is reported to want a ‘phased approach’ to ending shirt sponsorships, in which existing contracts will be allowed to be ‘phased-out’ over a period of three seasons.
The voluntary ban will only be applied to front-of-shirt sponsorship deals – and will not impact other sponsorship areas of the team’s matchday kit (sleeves/shorts).
Yet, political conflicts loom irrespective of EPL clubs adopting a shirt sponsorship ban, as gambling reformists have lambasted the government’s decision to allow the Premier League to settle its future with gambling.
A ban on shirt sponsorships had been previously deemed as a guarantee of the Gambling Review that would serve as the government’s most visible industry reform to the public.
The change of stance follows direct feedback from the Premier League, which will instruct clubs to voluntarily refuse gambling sponsorships, allowing the government to keep a ‘sponsorship ban in reserve’.
Conservative peer, Iain Duncan Smith, Co-Chair of the party Gambling Related Harm APPG, warned that he ‘would go to war, should gambling reforms be watered down”.