Clubs in England’s Premier League are reportedly ready to voluntary ban sports betting firms as front-of-shirt sponsors rather than be forced into the move by the United Kingdom government.

According to The Times, the voluntary ban was high on the agenda at a meeting of Premier League shareholders held on Thursday. The move would ban betting firms from placing their logo on the fronts of shirts in the top flight of English football, but would still allow them as sleeve sponsors.

This voluntary move would reportedly mean the U.K. government would not ban gambling advertising completely. A government white paper on gambling is due next month, but “ministers have signalled that it will not include shirt sponsorships restrictions if the voluntary agreement is reached,” The Times reports.

Players from Leeds United (in white) and Brentford (in black) battle during their match on January 22, 2023. (Courtesy Premier League)

It’s likely that the ban would include a three-year transition period, during which time clubs could let existing deals expire and have time to find new sponsors. The ban would only affect Premier League clubs: “It is understood that ministers are not looking for clubs in the EFL to take similar action because of the financial hardship it would cause,” The Times reports.

A final vote on the voluntary ban likely won’t happen until the Premier League’s summer meeting in June.

Players from AFC Bournemouth (in red and black) and Southampton (in blue) battle during their match on October 19, 2022. (Courtesy Premier League)

Eight Premier League teams currently have betting firms as their front-of-shirt sponsors:

  • AFC Bournemouth
  • Brentford
  • Everton
  • Fulham
  • Leeds United
  • Newcastle United
  • Southampton
  • West Ham United

Both Newcastle and Fulham’s current sponsorship deals expire at the end of the 2022-23 season.

Players from Fulham (in green) and Newcastle United (in black and white) battle during their match on January 15, 2023. (Courtesy Premier League)

The U.K. government began floating the idea of banning betting firms from buying advertising space on the front of football jerseys back in September 2021. The recommendation was believed to be part of a review of the 2005 Gambling Act. Premier League clubs have been talking about a voluntary ban as far back as July 2022.

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