The new measure that will be restricting front-of-shirt sponsorships – but glosses over sleeve branding – will kick off at the end of the 2025/26 season. This, however, is not going to be immediately replicated by the Scottish Professional Football League.
Scotland Unlikely to Follow England’s Example
Speaking to the BBC, a media outlet, the league insisted that such arrangements are private matters that take place between soccer clubs and sponsors, with no immediate plans to push for a league-wide ban. The SFPL further emphasized the economic significance of such deals:
For many SPFL clubs, sponsorship from gambling companies is a significant source of income which helps to support their business models and enables investment in many of the important community activities which clubs undertake.
Yet, there aren’t too many clubs in the SFPL that are currently sporting a front-of-shirt sponsorship. In fact, there are only three such organizations. One is Celtic with Dafabet, then there is Dundee United with QuinnCasino and not least, Rangers which have 32Red and Unibet.
While the SFPL perhaps has some wiggle room, the Premier League was mostly running out of time. A White Paper review of the Gambling Act is expected any day now, which means that one of the suggested overhauls could be to suspend front-of-shirt sponsorships.
In other words, Premier League clubs are acting preemptively and want to show goodwill in the matter. Of course, this does not come with a significant cost for the clubs involved, as they are going to lose $75 million annually from the missing sponsorships.
However, the Premier League has worked closely with its clubs to determine that this measure would be the best course of action. But even though the Premier League is showing initiative, this doesn’t mean that opponents of gambling in sports are satisfied.
Not All Gambling Advertisement Is Gone – Not At All
To many, this is just a sop, and what should happen next is for gambling advertisements to completely disappear from sports – this includes LED advertising and shirt sleeves. The soccer clubs in the Premier League are allowed to continue to promote gambling products using these two options, which seems counter-intuitive to many critics.
The government may yet step in and pass even tougher measures that could see more advertisement restrictions imposed. English sport is already sticking with a watershed ban which was also passed voluntarily several years back.