A bishop is challenging the Premier League by calling for betting firms’ logos to be banned from football shirts.
Bishop of St Albans the Right Revd Alan Smith has tabled a motion in the General Synod in an effort to stop children being “groomed into gambling”.
The C of E’s ruling body will debate the motion later this month, and decide whether or not it will put pressure on the Premier League to ban betting companies from becoming shirt sponsors.
‘Groomed into gambling’
Revd Smith said that banning gambling firms from sponsoring shirts and pitch-side hoardings would help counter the growing numbers of child gamblers.
Last month, he called it a “generational scandal” that around 55,000 children in the UK are problem gamblers.
Now he adds: “I know families who will not let their children watch football matches on TV because they feel their children are being groomed into gambling.”
“We have changed the enjoyment of sport from sport in itself to something that’s to do with money and betting.”
Revd Smith also warned that the “FA and others need to wake up very quickly to how damaging this is going to be”.
He added, the Church’s worry is that “we are as a nation sleepwalking into something by normalising and socialising a whole generation of people with no idea where it might go”.
The motion to be discussed at the General Synod also proposes a mandatory requirement for gambling firms to carry out research into the scale of the problem, and to fund education programmes and treatment for addicts.
Revd Smith indicated the positive effects that a logo ban could have on the sports clubs.
“If you think of the values that clubs want to promote in terms of their community role, does a betting sponsor sit four square behind that?
“Ultimately a ban could benefit them and their role in the community.”