Football clubs sell children’s kits featuring gambling sponsorship
Researchers have found that despite an agreement for children’s football kits to be free from gambling companies’ logos, numerous Premier League football clubs are still selling shirts to be worn by minors featuring sponsorship by gambling operators.
Nine Premier League teams signed up to an agreement to ensure their junior kits do not feature gambling logos or sponsorship under The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling’s (IGRG) code.
However, the problems arise due to the fact that for three of the clubs, children’s shirts only go up to age 13, while five other teams have a maximum age of 14 years old. Bournemouth were the only club whose junior kit sizes go up to 16 years of age.
This means that fans under the age of 18 of all the clubs that have signed the voluntary agreement will often be forced to buy adult sizes, ensuring they are wearing apparel featuring online gambling companies and alcohol companies’ logos.
The findings were uncovered by a group of researchers from Goldsmiths University London.
Commenting on the findings of the research, Dr Jane Rigbye, Research and Commissioning Assistant at GambleAware, said:
Children should be able to show their support for their club, without being forced to wear adult sized kits, emblazoned with gambling adverts. More needs to be done to protect children from the risks of gambling, and sports clubs need to consider their responsibility.– Dr Jane Rigbye, Research and Commissioning Assistant at GambleAware
Ban of gambling firms sponsoring clubs still a long way off
Gambling firms sponsoring football clubs’ shirts exploded back in 2005 when the ruling Labour party relaxed betting legislation through the 2005 Gambling Act.
However, the issue has been put into the spotlight recently, with the Labour party going so far to say they made a mistake by relaxing betting laws. In September last year, Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour party, even went so far as to say that the party would support a total ban on gambling firms sponsoring football shirts. The Labour party have also been a strong voice in preventing gambling being advertised to minors.
However, football clubs do not seem to be getting the message. Last week, Championship side Ipswich Town signed a £2m deal with Daub Alderney Ltd which will see the club’s shirt sporting the logo of Magical Vegas, an online gambling site.
While the deal is seen by the club as a great investment, fans of the club have not reacted so favourably, with many publicly expressing outrage at the fact that the shirt will feature the logo of a gambling firm.
In line with Football Association Guidelines, the club has stated that children’s size shirts will not feature the logo.