The new CEO of the Premier League, Richard Masters has issued a defiant message on the future of betting companies sponsoring football shirts.
In an interview with the UK newspaper the Guardian, Masters said that the Premier League would fight against any regulatory or legal changes that would make it harder for betting companies to get involved with this type of sponsorship.
This season, 10 of the 20 clubs in the Premier League carry gambling company shirt sponsors, including Norwich, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United.
The current state of the relationship between football clubs and the gambling sector has been a significant focus for many in the political and media spheres, as the number of clubs signing sponsorship deals with betting companies has increased. But in his interview, Masters said that the Premier League was not judgmental about clubs that struck relationships with gambling firms:
“The Premier League doesn’t have partnerships with gambling companies, we don’t sell watching bet rights, but it’s up to our clubs whether they want to have their own gambling relationships. All of them do, and a number of them are on the shirt front.”
As indicated in the Conservative Party manifesto for the recent General Election, the government is planning to review the 2005 Gambling Act. This review is set to focus on adjusting the legislation to adapt to the changes in society wrought by technology. But it has also been suggestions that they may seek to tighten up the legislation around betting and football regulations.
Masters said that the Premier League would be full participants in any such conversation, and that more action was needed to protect people at risk of gambling harm. But he added that removing gambling company shirt sponsorship from Premier League clubs was not the answer.