In a statement from the EFL, revenue generated from gambling is “as important now as it has ever been” to clubs as those further down the football pyramid continue to suffer the financial impact of Covid-19.
Bookmaker’s involvement in football remains under ‘constant review’ while they have become vital to EFL clubs who are experiencing dramatic revenue losses through the loss of gate receipts as fans are still prohibited from attending live fixtures.
“Through a highly visible awareness and education campaign, the EFL and Sky Bet work together to promote responsible gambling, with players from all three divisions wearing sleeve badges to encourage supporters to consider how they gamble and 70 per cent of the sponsor’s match-day inventory dedicated to safer gambling messaging.
“With over £40 million a season paid by the sector to the league and its clubs, the significant contribution betting companies make to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional football at all levels is as important now as it has ever been, particularly given the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which is leaving many of our clubs living on a financial knife edge.” Reads a statement by the EFL.
Clubs down in the second, third and fourth tiers of English professional football have had their main source of revenue “turned off”, according to the EFL, as the government continue to argue that it’s unsafe for fans to return to sporting stadiums.
Though, the EFL argue that members contribute ‘almost £500 million annually to the Exchequer’.
The lack of clarity on the safe return of fans is causing frustration among football clubs while other sectors are allowed to ‘welcome people through their doors’, says the EFL.
What else is causing even more confusion and frustration is that EFL clubs can allow fans into their hospitality boxes to host live screening of home matches which are being played yards away on the other side of the stand. Clubs such as Norwich City and Millwall FC have been hosting the events as they have no other option, enticing fans through cheap tickets, priced at £10 which includes a complimentary drink.
The EFL continue to say, “The inconsistency is frustrating and perplexing,
“Our approach in respect of gambling sponsorship is under constant review and the league will also contribute to any call for evidence by the government as we seek to protect an important and vital income stream for our membership in a time of financial crisis.”
Sports sponsorship and gambling advertisements regulations are set to change within UK gambling law. Back in July, the EFL opposed the House of Lords committee report which was to introduce a ban on gambling sports sponsorship.
As the future of English football continues to look bleak, bookmakers may become the saving grace for clubs’ in the lower divisions.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden is going to call for evidence next month as he looks to take his first step in changing the 2005 Gambling Act.
Author: James Parker