Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ban Bookies from Club Sponsorship - Labour

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ban Bookies from Club Sponsorship - Labour

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

FOOTBALL clubs including Newcastle United and Sunderland will need to find new shirt sponsors under a Labour government, after Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson announced plans to ban deals with gambling companies.

Mr Watson revealed Labour would end deals which put gambling company logos in front of millions of supporters including children.

At the moment, 25 of the 92 League clubs - including nine out of 20 Premier League clubs and 14 out of 24 Championship clubs - have shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

They include Newcastle United, which is sponsored by Fun88, and Sunderland, sponsored by Dafabet.

Initially, Labour would work with the FA to try to introduce a ban by changing the rules governing the sport. It says it would "consider further action" if this failed.

Mr Watson, who is also Labour's Deputy Leader, said: "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. "Clubs have a corporate social responsibility to their fans not to promote harmful products - as the Football Association recognised this summer when it terminated its sponsorship deal with a betting company. With new evidence showing gambling addiction rising, at a huge cost to individuals and their families, to society and to the taxpayer, the clubs should follow the FA's lead.

"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. …

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