Scots refusal to follow EPL lead on banning betting sponsors draws political anger

April 19 – The former First Minister of Scotland Henry McLeish has criticised the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) over its stance that it has no plans to restrict gambling sponsors from advertising on club shirts.

Following the English Premier League’s (EPL) decision to ban front of shirt logos from gaming businesses but keeping the sleeve position open to them, the SPFL said that the decision on sponsorship was a matter for clubs to decide individually. The EPL ban comes into force for the 2026/27 season.

“For many SPFL clubs, sponsorship from gambling companies is a significant source of income which helps to support their business models and enables investment in many of the important community activities which clubs undertake,” said a spokesperson for the SPFL.

Scottish Premiership clubs Celtic and Rangers have gambling firms as their main club sponsors. Celtic currently has Dafabet on the front of their shirts, while Rangers have two Kindred Group betting brands on their shirt – 32Red predominantly for domestic competitions and Unibet for European campaigns. Dundee United’s shirt carries the QuinnCasino logo.

The SPFL covers the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Championship, Scottish League One, and Scottish League Two.

McLeish, has said that he is “disappointed” at the SPFL’s response, saying: “What I’ve suggested is we have a phased programme to say look, let’s look for good sponsors, let’s look for sponsors that relate to what we’re trying to do in football.”

He went on to accuse the clubs of not working hard enough to find alternatives to betting sponsors.

“It’s just laziness. I believe that, looking at the finances, yes it can’t happen tomorrow or the next year or the next year, but let’s have a phased programme to look at the implications of alcohol and gambling.

“We dealt with tobacco, now we’ve got to deal with alcohol, now we’ve got to deal with gambling.”

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