The English Football Association (FA) has pulled out of their commercial partnership with Ladbrokes after facing pressure to distance itself from gambling. The FA has cut their ties with Ladbrokes only one year into their four-year deal.
A three-month review of their link to the betting industry was undertaken under the guidance of FA chairman Greg Clarke. Additional pressure was placed on the governing body in recent months following a high profile case involving Premier League star Joey Barton who was found to have placed more than 1,200 bets on matches in various sports over a ten-year period. This was in direct conflict with FA betting regulations and, in April, he was banned from the sport for 18 months. It has been argued that the body cannot enforce anti-gambling regulations while promoting gambling through sponsorship deals.
Despite the fact that this move will cost the FA around £4 million in lost annual revenue, the FA insists that the review was being considered long before the case was concluded.
“We would like to thank Ladbrokes for both being a valued partner over the last year and their professionalism and understanding about our change of policy around gambling,” announced FA chief executive Martin Glenn in a statement.
The partnership will end with immediate effect and Ladbrokes chief Jim Mullen assured that the betting firm understands the decision. They stated that they will continue to cooperate 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 will work with Ladbrokes and other betting companies on sharing information related to suspect betting patterns in a joint effort to crack down on match fixing in football games.