Sponsorship deals which put gambling company logos on the front of football shirts should be banned, says Labour’s Tom Watson.
The shadow culture, media and sport secretary said nine of the 20 Premier League clubs and 14 out of 24 Championship clubs have deals with betting companies, giving them global exposure.
He said: “Football has to play its part in tackling Britain’s hidden epidemic of gambling addiction. Shirt sponsorship sends out a message that football clubs don’t take problem gambling among their own fans seriously enough.
“It puts gambling brands in front of fans of all ages, not just at matches but on broadcasts and highlights packages on both commercial television and the BBC.”
The Football Association - which terminated its contract with Ladbrokes over the summer after deciding it was “inappropriate” to partner with them - prohibits under-18 teams from wearing clothing which “displays any reference whatsoever to a product, service or other activity which is considered...detrimental to the welfare, health or general interest of young persons”.
This includes gambling - but Watson said deals with sporting giants put such company logos in front of more children than the youth game ever could.
He added: “Clubs have a corporate social responsibility to their fans not to promote harmful products – as the Football Association recognised this summer when it terminated its sponsorship deal with a betting company.
“With new evidence showing gambling addiction rising, at a huge cost to individuals and their families, to society and to the taxpayer, the clubs should follow the FA’s lead.
“Just as tobacco companies were banned from sponsoring sporting events and putting their logos on branded goods because of the harm smoking can cause, it’s right that we recognise the harm problem gambling does and take gambling logos off football shirts.”
He said Labour would announce measures on tightening restrictions around gambling advertising and sponsorship “in due course”.
Full list of clubs sponsored by betting companies:
Gambling company shirt sponsor
Premier League (9 of 20 clubs)
West Ham United
Sky Bet Championship (14 of 24 clubs)
Preston North End
Queens Park Rangers
Sky Bet League One (2 of 24 clubs)