The English Football Association (FA) has confirmed that it has ended its ‘official betting partnership’ with Ladbrokes, just one year into its four-year contract (reported to be worth £4 million per year).
Following an internal management review, FA governance has deemed the sponsorship to be inappropriate as the body has to act as supervisor for the sport’s integrity and its player behaviour.
As English football’s ruling body, the FA deems it strictly illegal for its syndicated professional footballers, coaches, team management and associated staff members to wager on any football matches.
Last April, The FA banned Burnley midfielder Joey Barton for 18-months after admitting to charges in relation to betting.
At the time, the Barton (34) stated that he was ‘addicted to gambling’ having placed 1,260 bets on football matches between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016. Barton further stated that the ban ‘was excessive’ and that it had effectively ended his professional career in football.
“I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem – I’m disappointed it wasn’t taken into proper consideration,” Barton added
UK news sources report that FA management triggered a review, following the high profile cases of Joey Barton and non-league Sutton United’s FA Cup 5th Round draw against Arsenal, which had brought the game into disrepute following the Wayne Shaw ‘Piegate’ incident.
FA Chairman Greg Clarke is reported to be the key decision maker, in wanting to distance the ruling body away from bookmaker marketing and promotions. Clarke detailed to FA governance that the body’s position was ‘incompatible’ with enforcing anti-gambling rules, through its association with a well-known UK bookmaker.
On Thursday, FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn said: ‘We would like to thank Ladbrokes for both being a valued partner over the last year and for their professionalism and understanding about our change of policy around gambling.’
Responding to the FA actions, Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen accepted the decision taken by the governing body, further detailing that the firm would continue to advise the FA on matters of sports integrity.
“The company would continue to work with the FA to ensure the integrity and trust of the sport is maintained for the fans of the game and the millions of customers who enjoy betting on it week in and week out”.