Football Association of Ireland could end gambling firms partnerships
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) may be set to end its partnerships with gambling operators according to reports.
The FAI is currently sponsored by Ladbrokes, with the deal running to the end of the year.
According to reports in the Times, the contract is currently being reviewed by the FAI, who are considering ending all the association’s links with gambling and gambling companies. The review stems from concerns over problem gambling in the country.
The move would replicate that of the English Football Association (FA) in June 2017, when England’s footballing body ended its sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes amid criticism for promoting gambling. That deal was worth £4m but the FA could not continue to justify a partnership with a betting firm.
The move comes as gambling falls under criticism in Ireland from the highest levels. Last month, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, spoke of potentially ending advertising of gambling products in the country, saying:
I’m very concerned about gambling, which if I had my way, I wouldn’t have advertising of any access to gambling platforms in sport at all. I really worry when I read cases of people who have come through gambling problems. The often-secret addiction has grown in sport in recent years and a number of high profile sports people have talked about their stories of addiction.– Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland
Earlier this year, the Irish Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA) voted to ban betting companies from sponsoring teams.
A motion at the annual congress was backed by 93% of 270 voting delegates. That move came as many players had themselves admitted problems related to gambling.
In England, the spotlight has been on gambling companies sponsoring teams in a number of sports for some time. The pressure has been turned up recently, with a number of UK media outlets questioning whether sport and betting are inextricably linked.
However, little seems to have changed. Almost half of the teams in the English Premier League (EPL) season are sponsored by betting firms this season.