English football executives appeared in front of a DCMS Committee and discussed clubs funding and revenue opportunities, urging not to impose a ban on gambling sponsorships.
DCMS Committee Discusses Financial Sustainability of English Football
English football executives are speaking against the legal clouds that have gathered over the sport and gambling sector in light of a new proposed measure that would bar betting firms from endorsing sports entities, and particularly football clubs.
Delivering their opinion on the matter, Premier League CEO Richard Masters and English Football League (EFL) chair Rick Parry appeared in front of a DCMS Committee to discuss the prevalence of gambling signage and betting sponsorships in football. Parry has already made several public appeals to the governments not to fiddle with the free market lest it causes a chain reaction of bankruptcy in English football.
The committee was mostly focused on the financial sustainability of second tier and non-league football clubs, which are coming under a lot of pressure due to absent gate receipts and lower overall interest in the game. Now, the House of Lords Select Committee is planning on phasing out all gambling sponsorships completely by 2023, a move that has been brought up several times in the past.
Parry and Masters Back Gambling Sponsorships Once Again
Parry was straightforward in his demands from the Committee. Tinkering with sponsorships without offering an alternative would be bad, he said, citing evidence. For example, the EFL generates over £40 million just from its sponsorship with Sky Bet.
Slapping the industry with a ban would compound an already difficult situation and have what Parry described as potentially catastrophic circumstances. In order to deal with any ban of the proposed nature, clubs would need to seek alternative sources of funding, but that could only happen if they have enough time to act.
“If it were phased in overtime, then frankly, clubs would have to find a way of adapting. We look forward to playing a part in the DCMS review which we hope will be evidence-based and we look forward to contributing evidence to that process.”-EFL executive Rick Parry
Meanwhile, Premier League’s Masters said that the league’s clubs were not as reliant on gambling sponsorships – as opposed to EFL clubs – but they still found it a good source of revenue. He further mentioned that in his opinion gambling companies were already self-regulating to ensure that consumers are protected.
Parry pitched in adding that there must be a balance between what should be considered a liberal gambling environment and regulation. Parry acquiesced that gambling advertisement may have become too ubiquitous for the purposes of consumer protection and it needs to be calibrated a bit.
However, a prohibition wouldn’t work, he said. Masters added that there must be some give-and-take between sports and betting, and rebalancing is a good idea, but banning sponsorships altogether not as much.