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FA splits from Ladbrokes – are the Aussie codes next?

Ladbrokes sponsorship
THE Football Association in England has promptly ended its £4 million-a-year sponsorship deal to be affiliated alongside Ladbrokes.

The move terminated a four-year deal following a three-month review commissioned by the FA chairman Greg Clarke.

There are now calls for the AFL and NRL to follow suit given their close connections to corporate bookmakers.

The FA came under heavy criticism for its hard-line stance on players gambling on soccer from around the world whilst profiting from the bookmakers..

Last year Burnley midfielder Joey Barton was also fined £30,000 and warned about his future conduct having been found guilty of placing 1,260 bets on matches over a 10-year period.

The former Newcastle star Barton questioned the FA in the aftermath of the decision, stating that it should “look at its own dependence on the gambling companies” instead of “blaming” the players.

The FA said in a statement: “At the May FA board meeting, it was agreed that the FA would end all sponsorships with betting companies starting from the end of the 2016-17 season.

“The decision was made following a three-month review of the FA’s approach to it as a governing body taking betting sponsorship, whilst being responsible for the regulation of sports betting within the sport’s rules.

“As a consequence, the FA has mutually agreed with Ladbrokes that its current partnership with The FA will be terminated from June 2017.

Ladbrokes sign-up special

Our Take – if the local codes are serious about their words, they will follow the FA’s lead

First thing’s first – we think the ability to punt is a fantastic thing for those who can do it responsibly, and the money that corporate bookmakers insert back into the game as a result assists sports at every level.

But the codes cannot describe gambling’s influence on the game as insidious, while accepting handouts from the companies at the same time.

The FA’s decision to severe ties with the corporate bookmakers is one that should be commended, because it shows that they will not be swayed by the bottom line. If the AFL and the NRL want to make a strong statement, they will follow suit.

As of June, 2017 the NRL has 21 separate corporate bookmakers that they promote on their own website, which is further compounded by the fact that Manly’s home ground is named after lotto giants Lottoland. When this is stacked up against the weight of the Tim Simona gambling suspension, you start to see why players can get confused about their rights to punt.

The AFL is not exempt from criticism either.

Aussie Rules has a lucrative deal alongside two of Australia’s biggest bookmakers – Sportsbet and Crownbet. Both companies could have been forgiven for questioning why premiership captain Easton Wood was able to be given a platform to express his views on the subject given the amount of money they are injecting into the game.

We think there is a place for gambling in sport. Irrespective of gambling advertising or bookmaker’s affiliations with the codes, gambling will always take place on sport until sweeping bans are put in place. Who are we to deny the industry profiting off that?

We just think you need to be honest and transparent. The FA played its hand by completely distancing itself from bookmakers, maybe it is time the AFL and NRL did the same – lest another Tim Simona situation arises in the future.

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