Forest Green Rovers call for gambling sponsorship ban – BBC News

Dale Vince
Green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince has been involved with Forest Green Rovers since 2010

Forest Green Rovers have become the first professional club in England to call for a gambling sponsorship ban.

A ban is being debated as part of the 2005 Gambling Act review which should be completed by this autumn.

The English Football League has opposed a ban, with chairman Rick Parry telling BBC Sport it would cost EFL clubs £40m a season and could see some go under.

“I believe gambling in football is an abuse of football and of fans,” said Forest Green Rovers owner Dale Vince.

“Gambling has overtaken football. If you watch a game on TV you are inundated with adverts. For me, the fun has already stopped,” he added.

Eight of 20 Premier League teams have gambling sponsorships on their shirts, and 10 of 24 in the Championship.

But there are many other partnerships between clubs and betting firms which include advertising on social media and boards around the pitch, while the EFL is also sponsored by Sky Bet.

Chairman of League Two Tranmere Rovers Mark Palios has already questioned the need for gambling sponsorship in football, saying that clubs could survive without it.

Non-league Lewes FC, who play in the Isthmian League Premier Division, have also said that gambling sponsorship should be banned in football.

Forest Green have teamed up with the Big Step, part of the charity Gambling with Lives, which offers support to families who have lost loves ones because of betting addiction.

James Grimes of the Big Step said: “We’re delighted to have the support of Forest Green Rovers. Our outdated gambling laws need to change, especially with the exponential rise of online gambling.

“Sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies is banned and we believe gambling should be the same.

“To be truly effective, shirt sponsorship, stadium promotions and other branding should not be visible during matches.”

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