The English Football Association (FA) has today confirmed the termination of its commercial deal with Ladbrokes Coral following a high level review into the sports relationship with gambling.
FA officials have announced that commercial deals with all betting companies have been ceased as of this month, however the FA have confirmed that they will continue to cooperate with bookmakers on regulatory and criminal betting activities.
In an interview with the Daily Express, Martin Glenn, Chief Executive of The FA, 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.”
Jim Mullen, CEO of Ladbrokes Coral, added: “We understand The FA's decision regarding their commercial partnerships on gambling.
“Football is a passion of ours, and our customers, and we remain committed to working 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."
The FA has enjoyed a long and lucrative relationship with many betting companies in the UK, however calls for a review of the FA’s commercial partnerships came after it was revealed that Burnley footballer Joey Barton had placed 1,260 bets over a 10 year period, directly contravening the FA’s rules on betting by players.
Barton was fined a total of £30,000 and handed an 18 month suspension from the game effectively ending his career as a footballer, prompting many, including Barton himself to question the role that betting companies play in the beautiful game.
In May FA chairman Greg Clarke said that the FA was actively considering its position on gambling in the sport, telling the Times newspaper: “I have thought about the relationship between betting and football, and alcohol and football, and I raised this at the start of the season when I took over as chairman.
“I asked for the management team to produce a report on what our position should be on a number of things, and gambling and alcohol were among those things. At the end of the season, when that paper is produced, the FA board will take a measured decision on what our position should be.
“Until I see that paper, I don’t have a position but it is right we consider it and then make a positive decision on what we are going to do or not. This is not linked to the Joey Barton case at all, this goes back to the start of the season.”
It appears that the FA has now made its decision to change the way it deals with the sports betting world.
FA officials are now pushing for the introduction of a football betting levy to be paid by all bookmakers placing bets on football matches, in the same way that the horseracing levy currently charges bookmakers operating in the UK.
Such a levy would raise substantial funds for the FA, with the proceeds being ploughed back into the game at grassroots levels.
The UK Gambling Commission has made a short statement regarding the termination of the deal as follows:
"The Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting intelligence Unit has strong and effective partnerships with sports governing bodies and the gambling industry to identify and take action against any betting activity that threatens the integrity of sport in this country. That important work will not be adversely impacted by today’s decision."