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Drogheda United becomes first top-flight club to back The Big Step campaign

League of Ireland Premier Division club Drogheda United has backed The Big Step’s campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.

drogheda bigstep

It is the first top-flight club to back the campaign. In the announcement, The Big Step pointed to recent statistics that highlight the issue of problem gambling in Ireland, where people lost €1.36bn ($1.54bn) gambling in 2020. It is the fourth-most out of any country in the EU.

“Drogheda United is proud to be the first League of Ireland club to join The Big Step,” said Drogheda United Chairman Conor Hoey. “Family and community are at the heart of Drogheda United and, as a club, we try to maintain values that improve the lives of our supporters where we can.

“Unfortunately, many of us involved in the club have seen the damage that gambling addiction can do to individuals and their families. Increasingly we have seen how synonymous gambling and football have become, particularly in the UK, with a continual flow of endorsements by former players and celebrities to normalise this relationship.”

The club also called on the League of Ireland and the clubs within it to follow its lead and ban gambling sponsorship, a sentiment shared by The Big Step.

James Grimes, Founder of The Big Step, commented: “We are delighted that Drogheda United have become the first top-flight club to back our campaign. Tobacco advertising was removed from sport because of the risk to public health – it’s now time for the same to happen with gambling, which is harming millions in both the UK and Ireland.

“We are especially grateful to the chairman, who has been consistently vocal and principled on this issue – putting young fans and those of us harmed by gambling ahead of profit.

“We strongly endorse his call for the League of Ireland and its clubs to move away from all gambling sponsorship and advertising.”

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