Peter Shilton Calls for Restriction of Gambling Ads and Sponsorship in Soccer

Soccer legend Peter Shilton has condemned the toxic relationship soccer has with gambling providers, particularly criticizing the gambling deal of the English Football League (EFL), which sees soccer clubs profit from gamblers’ losses.

Former Goalie Peter Shilton Advocates for Fewer Ads in Soccer

Legendary England goalkeeper Peter Shilton has been struggling with gambling addiction for a large portion of his life and has now become a fierce advocate for significantly reducing gambling ads in soccer.

Daily Mail reported that Shilton has directed strong criticism towards a deal between the EFL and Sky Bet, which was struck in 2013. According to the collaboration, if a gambler opens an account with a bookmaker via his or her club, the club gets a percentage of all losses the gambler incurs with the bookmaker. This practice was restricted in 2020 but some clubs still receive money from bookmakers under this scheme.

Shilton has expressed his aggravation that clubs have forgotten to take care of their fans and are using their misfortune to earn money.

Among Shilton’s concerns are that soccer is a family game and gambling ads are everywhere – on players’ T-shirts, on billboards across the stadiums, during intermissions, and so on. Thanks to the ads many young soccer fans are drawn into this vicious gambling world, which often leads to ruin and desperation.

The EFL has countered Shilton’s comments by saying that this practice was discontinued when the collaboration agreement with Sky Bet was renewed in 2020.

Shilton has also pointed to the suicide rates connected with problem gambling. According to research conducted by Public Health England, 409 suicides take place every year that are in some way connected to gambling addiction.

Other Voices Supporting Shilton’s Stance

In August, 45,000 fans signed a petition asking for fewer ads in soccer. This was an initiative by Football Supporters Against Gambling Ads (Football SAGA), a group of soccer fans that have been affected by or suffered from gambling harm.

The Football SAGA’s petition followed another initiative by The Big Step, which is also an activist organization campaigning for the termination of all gambling ads and sponsorships in soccer founded by people who have directly suffered from gambling addiction or have lost loved ones to gambling-connected suicide.

In July, the charity sent an open letter addressed to the 20 soccer clubs, which are part of the Premier League, urging them to give their support during a shareholder vote in order to stop all sponsorship and ads coming from gambling companies.

The focal point of their campaign was the protection of the Premiere League club’s younger fan base.

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