Forest Green Rovers’ owner Dale Vince has called for a gambling sponsorship ban in football – despite the EFL being sponsored directly by a betting firm.
The League Two side have become the first professional club to call for such a ban, the possibility of which is currently being debated as part of the 2005 Gambling Act review.
The EFL – sponsored by prominent bookmakers Skybet – say they are opposed to such a ban as it would leave lots of clubs on the brink with many at risk of going under.
But Vince, whose forward-thinking club have signed up with an anti-gambling charity, says sponsorship from betting firms is “an abuse of football”.
“Gambling has overtaken football,” Vince said.
“If you watch a game on TV you are inundated with adverts. Gambling logos are on almost half of Premier League shirts, and constantly flash up on pitch-side boards.
“For me, the fun already stopped. This is an abuse of football and of football fans.”
Rovers have teamed up with the Big Step, part of the charity Gambling with Lives, which offers support to families who have lost loves ones because of betting addiction.
Ten of the 24 Championship clubs have betting firms emblazoned on their shirt logos this season and grounds up and down the EFL advertise partnerships between clubs and betting firms.
Forest Green, who are in contention for a play-off spot in League Two, recently became the world’s first carbon-neutral football club and are also renowned for being the only completely vegan club.