May 5 – The English Football Association is mulling over ending its commercial ties with betting and alcohol firms at the end of the season, says chairman Greg Clarke.
Clarke (pictured) told The Times newspaper the governing body is “actively considering” its relationship with such companies.
Controversial much-travelled midfielder Joey Barton, currently with Burnley, was slapped with an 18-month ban last month for placing bets on games in violation of domestic rules but reacted by saying the FA itself “needs to look at its own dependence on the gambling companies” if it “is truly serious about tackling the culture of gambling in football.”
The FA announced a long-term agreement with Ladbrokes in June last year and also have commercial agreements with alcohol companies Carling, Budweiser and Carlsberg. The second-tier English Championship is currently sponsored by Sky Bet and betting companies sponsor many clubs’ shirts including Premier League sides Stoke, West Ham and Barton’s Burnley.
Clarke said his concerns were “not linked to the Joey Barton case at all”.
“We are actively considering what our position will be and should be,” he said. “When you think back to when they took cigarette advertising off Formula One racing cars, sport has a duty to consider and ask itself what is right.
“I have thought about the relationship between betting and football, and alcohol and football, and I raised this at the start of the season when I took over as chairman.
“I asked for the management team to produce a report on what our position should be on a number of things, and gambling and alcohol were among those things.
“At the end of the season, when that paper is produced, the FA board will take a measured decision on what our position should be. Until I see that paper, I don’t have a position but it is right we consider it and then make a positive decision on what we are going to do or not.”
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