April 10, 2023 3 min read


EPL’s Plan to Ditch Shirt Sponsorships Gets Slammed as “Incoherent”

Critics argued that pitchside hoarding sponsorships are far more visible than front-of-shirt logos which can only be seen in closeup shots

British anti-gambling campaigners have slammed the Premier Leagues’ attempt to reach a compromise with the government by forfeiting their front-of-shirt gambling sponsorships. The activists have noted that this measure would do nothing about the hoarding sponsorships, which are generally much more problematic.

Around two weeks ago, The Times shared that Premier League teams are considering voluntarily giving up on their front-of-shirt gambling sponsorships, instead moving the logos of operators to the sleeves. The teams hope that this measure will be enough to convince the government to forgo banning EPL gambling agreements.

The ban on ELP sponsorships with gaming companies is a measure that many opponents of the industry have been requesting amid the still-ongoing gambling reforms. Many hope that the highly-anticipated white paper will bar soccer teams from teaming up with operators, thus exposing sports fans and young people to fewer gambling promotions.

Unfortunately, the clubs’ compromise solution does not seem to sit well with many activists.

Critics Say Hoardings Are Much More Visible

Critics have blasted the Premier League clubs for their “incoherent” proposals. Opponents of the industry said that the proposed measures failed to take into mind the hoarding sponsorships, which are much more visible.

The LED screens, research shows, are much more visible to the audiences and therefore much more dangerous and gambling harm-instigating. Recent studies show that the hoardings would show a team logo up to several hundred times per game broadcast.

As a result, young audiences and at-risk players would still be bombarded with gambling content even if the clubs forfeit their front-of-shirt sponsorships.

The Times spoke with some of the activists who shared their concerns on the matter. James Grimes, an ex-addict who founded the Big Step, a campaign that seeks to convince soccer teams to abandon gambling sponsors, welcomed the decision to ditch front-of-shirt sponsorships. However, he noted that “for every advert on a shirt, there are hundreds more flashing around the pitch.”

Studies Confirm that Hoarding Promotions Are More Noticeable

The University of Stirling analyzed EPL data from five games, noting some curious results. The university reported that a whopping 31 different gambling brands were promoted across the five games, with Betway being the most visible.

According to Dr Richard Purves, the front-of-shirt sponsorship is but a small part of the ads.

If you watch the match, what is most visible? It’s not the shirts unless you get closeups. It’s the pitchside hoardings and the ads you see at half-time.

Dr Richard Purves, senior research fellow, University of Stirling

He added that dropping shirt sponsorships might satisfy some people but is a move that ultimately does little to mitigate gambling harm.

The white paper, which will propose a plan of action to revolutionize British gaming, is expected to be published this month.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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