November 9, 2023 3 min read


EFL Chair Parry Defends Betting Sponsorships amidst Addiction Concerns

Despite the rising high-profile cases of gambling addiction among players, Parry was adamant that a sponsorship ban would not resolve these issues.

Defending the sport’s right to benefit from responsible betting sponsorship, English Football League (EFL) Chairman Rick Parry emphasized that there were no magic answers to eliminate addiction issues, calling for empathy and support for affected players. His statements closely follow several betting scandals, highlighting the contentious nature of gambling partnerships.

Education and Rehabilitation Efforts Remain a Priority

The recent 10-month ban imposed on Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali due to gambling addiction has intensified scrutiny of soccer’s relationship with betting. Parry, defending the sport’s association with betting companies, stated that the industry had generated billions since the 2005 Gambling Act, noting that marketing agreements channeled some of this revenue back into sports.

According to Parry, the EFL had commissioned extensive research and did not see any correlation between sponsorships and increased gambling harm. He noted that eliminating the issue would be incredibly challenging, so the organization focused on minimizing problem gambling through various initiatives.

Educating players is something we’ve been doing for at least the last five years, and we’ll continue to do more of that.

Rick Parry, EFL chairman

Parry remained convinced that individuals would gamble regardless of the sponsorships, noting that prohibition was not a viable solution. He added that the recent cases in Italy demonstrated that rehabilitation was just as needed as punishment, and investing more resources in identifying and aiding players with genuine addiction problems could lead to significant improvements.

Community-Focused Efforts Help Offset the Industry’s Negative Impact

June saw the EFL renew its collaboration with operator Sky Bet, extending it through the 2028-29 Season. The two partners reaffirmed their commitment to deliver financial support to communities in England and Wales via the Sky Bet EFL Community Fund. This collaboration received praise from the UK government as a socially responsible model.

Chairman Parry was adamant that this partnership would not impact players, stating that some athletes would still choose to wager regardless of sponsorships. He emphasized the need for responsible marketing arrangements and improved gambling operator accountability, noting that such measures would be significantly more beneficial for players and non-players.

Parry’s observations happened during the ongoing EFL Week of Action, highlighting the organization’s life-changing community work as all 72 member clubs unite to make a positive impact. Despite his reassurances, the balance between responsible betting partnerships and addressing addiction concerns remains a hotly contested topic in the soccer landscape as stakeholders search for an optimal solution.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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