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Football Clubs Criticised Over Gambling Deals

January 30, 2020

- Grant Whittington

Football is heavily reliant on gambling partnerships; to the point of being too dependent. This is according to UK Sports Minister Nigel Adams. The MP recently spoke on the topic of the relationships between operators and football clubs and said that in his opinion, its time football franchises find alternative streams of income. Adams furthermore made it clear that the business relationship between gambling operators and football clubs would enjoy priority prominence once the current Gambling Act comes up for review.

Operator-club associations have been bearing the brunt of critical opinion and intensified focus for as long as memory serves. But the latest bad smack on the industry at large follows the Football Association having been globally criticised after it reached the ears of the public that the association had in fact sold the live streaming rights to FA Cup matches to various betting firms and via the network operations of a third party.

Matches Only Open To Bettors

A total of seven gambling websites were granted the exclusive rights to broadcast the matches. What sparked even more of a public outrage was that the operators in question were blatantly brazen about the fact that only those members of the public willing to sign up and place a certain number of bets on specific matches would gain access to the live broadcasts.

What this effectively boils down to is that only the country’s regular and able bettors would be in a position to watch any of the FA Cup matches – at all. Membership also proved insufficient, as actual bets were required in return for access to the live broadcast viewing material. The operators in question eventually willingly forfeited their exclusive broadcasting rights after a massive public outcry ensued about the unfairness of it all; instigated all the more by the fact that the Football Association was at the time of the controversy having reached the public domain, heavily involved in rallying for mental health.

Normalising Is The Key Issue

But the real concern behind all that has transpired is the fact that authorities are growing more and more concerned about the fact that the relationships between operators and football clubs may ultimately end up completely “normalising” the act of betting on sports among young football supporters. The normalisation process is a natural outflow of gambling operators’ names and branding appearing on everything from jerseys to sports bags to banners and attire.

Young fans are not able to discern between the operator and the team in terms of a “unit” and oftentimes having little to no knowledge about how corporate sponsorships work, naturally assume that the teams as well as the sport and its players endorse gambling and betting as “naturally wholesome” activities. This makes younger fans more prone to engage in under-age betting and possibly as a result thereof, develop an unhealthy relationship with gambling and betting later on once they reach the age of early adulthood.

Adams Concerned About Lives

This is exactly the nature of the best Adams claims to be particularly concerned about. He during his comments about higher and more intense scrutiny being necessary as far as football-gambling relationships go, spoke about the issues surrounding problem gambling and the resultant problem societal behaviour.

He furthermore made mention of the fact that unhealthy gambling and betting behaviour has in the past led to tragic events the likes of folks having “taken their own lives” as a result of their poor addict-state choices. Adams concluded his commentary by saying that the time had come to work tirelessly on striking a better and more healthy balance between gambling and sports; and in particular in reference to club football

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