FA to stop bookmakers streaming Cup ties as DCMS sponsorship decision nears

The FA will no longer allow bookmakers to stream any live FA Cup matches, as the governing body finalises the sale of a new TV rights deal for its flagship competition.

The governing body aims to amend its 2017 deal that allowed sports media rights agency IMG to sell individual FA Cup live stream packages to six bookmakers. 

Last Christmas, the FA was brought into disrepute as The Daily Mail uncovered that the 23 of 32 FA Cup third-round ties that had not been broadcast by TV, had been made available to live stream via bet365’s desktop and mobile app.

In 2017, the FA had agreed to a six-year deal with IMG which allowed the broadcasting rights to be sold to bookmakers from the start of the 2018/19 season. The agreement is not due to finish until the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

The conflict saw then DCMS Sports Minister Nigel Adams order the FA’s executive team to immediately review the Cup’s media rights arrangements.

Industry standards body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) responded to criticism, underlining that “bookmakers had never sought to hold exclusive rights to screen FA Cup matches”.

The bookmakers in question immediately offered their IMG packages to be screened by terrestrial TV broadcasters, allowing all FA Cup matches to be screened freely for the general public.

The Times has reported that tomorrow, DCMS undersecretary Chris Philip, charged with overseeing gambling sector reforms, will meet with Football leaders to ‘make clear’ the government’s position on betting related sponsorships.  

The Premier League and EFL are expected to urge the government not to ban shirt sponsorships by gambling operators. However, an outright ban or comprehensive reform of betting sponsorships duties has been accepted as a certain outcome of the review of the 2005 Gambling Act.  

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