LONDON (AP) — Premier League clubs have agreed to ban sponsorship from gambling companies on the front of their shirts, the organization said Thursday.
The league’s 20 clubs collectively announced the decision to voluntarily “reduce gambling advertising.”
It is the first sports league in the UK to take such a stand, although the decision does not ban gambling companies from being used as sponsors on shirt sleeves.
The move was welcomed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport at a time when the British government is reviewing gambling legislation.
“The vast majority of adults gamble safely but we have to recognise that footballers are role models who have enormous influence on young people,” culture secretary Lucy Frazer said Thursday. “We want to work with institutions like the Premier League to do the right thing for young fans.”
Eight Premier League clubs currently have gambling sponsorship on the front of their shirts: Bournemouth, Everton, Leeds, Southampton, West Ham, Fulham, Newcastle and Brentford.
In order to help clubs during a period of transition, the agreement will enter into force until the end of the 2025-26 season, the league said.
“The Premier League is also working with other sports on the development of a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship,” the league added.
Campaign group The Big Step has pushed to end gambling sponsorship in soccer, with support from former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
The group said it wants sideline advertisments and other forms of gambling sponsorship to be ended as well.
“Today’s announcement is a significant acceptance of the harm caused by gambling sponsorship,” the group said in a statement. “No gambling ads are seen more than those on Premier League shirts, worn by billions around the world.
“Although this outcome isn’t perfect, it’s a huge step.”
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