FAI Considers Betting Sponsorship

The Times Ireland Edition is reporting this morning that the FAI is considering the severing of sponsorship links with betting companies.

The English FA did just that a year ago, buying out the remaining three years on its sponsorship at the time with Ladbrokes.

Ladbrokes are also the current official betting partner of the FAI though that deal expires at the end of this year.

The deal with the English FA was worth £4 million per annum though the FAI’s deal is a fraction of that.

It also has a deal with TrackChamp where all matches in the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland are streamed live on betting websites around the world.

That deal runs for another year after this year and is believed to be worth a six figure sum.

When the FA in England ended betting sponsorship it did so in light of an overall ban on players, coaches, officials and administrators betting on the sport in any form.

It did not go so far though as to ban betting sponsorship of teams, currently worth tens of millions and very evident on the shirt front of teams across the sport.

Neither did it request that Sky change its brand supporting the Skybet Football League, the divisions feeding into the top flight.

The GAA imposed a ban on sponsorship of tournaments and teams at its congress earlier this year.

Paddy Power is the official betting partner of the IRFU and has also backed the Irish Amputee Soccer team in the past.

President Michael D Higgins last week called for consideration of a ban on the advertising and promotion of gambling around sporting events.

Whether this would be effective or possible given the amount of overseas sports coverage broadcast into Ireland, and the prevalence of advertising of betting particularly in the late evening coverage of sport from around the world is something which would make a ban complex but not impossible, were the government to feel it was necessary.

A ban on sporting sponsorship in general would have a major impact on horse and greyhound racing but would be limited in impact on other sports.

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