Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Former FA Boss Says Football Gambling Links Have ‘Gone Too Far’

Gambling Addiction

The former boss of the Football Association (FA) has stated that the link between gambling and football has “gone too far”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s File On 4 programme, Former FA Chief Executive Mark Palios said that football’s links with the gambling industry has gone “too far” and that there needs to be an end to gambling sponsorships.

Palios, who currently is the chairman for the Tranmere Rovers football club has said that he will not be accepting any gambling sponsorships and last year rejected an offer from a major betting company, though he didn’t explain which. He did, however, state that the offer had included a plan to place betting terminals inside football grounds.

On the radio programme, he said: “This is a family club that’s firmly rooted in the community and from our perspective, it’s the wrong thing to do to get associated with the gambling industry. We can’t change the bigger picture in terms of the football industry being involved to the extent it is but from a personal perspective that’s what we do.”

Palios, who was made Chief Executive for the Football Association in July 2003, continued: “Football has to wean itself off the position it is in at the moment – and that’s the best verb I can use. It’s certainly gone too far.”

Also in the program, Palios mentioned a report which suggested that most of the betting shops in Wirral, where the Transmere football club is based, were in poorer areas where people spent twice as much money on gambling compared to those in richer areas.

“I see gambling as something that is pernicious,” he said. “People get hooked into it and it is a hidden addiction. You see people stealing from their employers as we’ve seen and it destroys relationships and fundamentally damages family units and family units are a massive part of the community.”

Gambling And Football

In response, the English Football League (EFL), who has partnered with Sky Bet, has said that both the football and gambling industries have worked together responsibly. A spokesperson for the EFL said: “The EFL itself continues to have a successful relationship with Sky Bet who, as a responsible, properly regulated bookmaker, recognise the importance of having the right safeguards in place.”

Over the last few months, spokespeople for the gambling industry, MPs and other peoples have all spoken out on the links between gambling and football. Paddy Power last year launched a campaign to relinquish all advertising space on football jerseys, although the campaign only launched after a publicity stunt in which the bookmaker debuted jerseys covered in their logos.

Meanwhile, the Betting and Gaming Council earlier revealed that it was considering implementing a voluntary ban on football shirt sponsorships and pitch-side advertisements. Many gambling firms, MPs, and gamblers themselves have supported the idea but no further updates have been stated.