A national fan-led campaign is urging football clubs to stop signing sponsorship deals with gambling companies.
Footballers Supporters Against Gambling Adverts is a campaign group that includes recovery for addicts and families betrayed by gambling-related suicide.
The group has started more than 20 petitions.
It now hopes to get over a million signatures and wants clubs across the country to end all existing gambling partnerships and pledge to decline future deals.
“Nowhere is gambling’s harmful presence felt more strongly than in football, which acts as a ‘hook’ that attracts young first-time players and prepares them for a lifelong addiction,” the group said in a statement.
On July 4th, the The Premier League has asked clubs to vote on whether to introduce a voluntary ban on gambling sponsorships on shirts from possible government intervention.
Half of the top teams last season had betting sponsors on their jerseys.
The Premier League has backed plans for clubs to voluntarily phase out gambling sponsors over a three-year period, but any change to the league’s rules would require 14 of the 20 clubs to vote.
A government white paper detailing plans to address issues in the industry was due to be released on July 21 but has actually been released delayed due to conservative leadership election.
The document has already been held at Downing Street because of senior Tories – including those in the Treasury – opposing further regulation on companies.
But MPs who have been watching the white paper closely said that, despite plans ready to be made public, Number 10 will not go ahead as long as Boris Johnson is only in office as acting prime minister.
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Almost half of Premier League clubs, including Newcastle United and West Ham, were sponsored by bookmakers last season, although the Magpies are likely to secure a replacement for Fun88 after next season.
Other shirt sponsors from last season included SpreadEx Sport in West Ham, Hollywood Bet in Brentford and Sportsbet.io in Southampton.
Everton and Bournemouth recently signed new kit deals with betting shops, while London club Crystal Palace dropped theirs in favor of a car dealership.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the United States, call your nearest Samaritans office or 1 (800) 273-TALK