Could Norwich City be forced to remove shirt sponsor?
- Credit: Norwich City/Matthew Usher
Norwich City could be looking for a new shirt sponsor next season after it was reported the government is considering a crackdown on betting sponsorship in sport.
Civil servants have warned a ban is being considered as part of a review of the Gambling Act 2005 according to reports, with betting shirt sponsors bringing in an estimated £110m for Premier League and Championship clubs alone.
The Canaries are one of 12 Championship clubs and eight Premier League clubs whose current shirt sponsorship deal could be under threat, with their kit featuring the logo of Filipino gambling company Dafabet.
Norwich City's three-year deal with the gambling company was said to be worth a "record-breaking" sum when it was announced.
The club's replica kits for children do not feature the Dafabet logo and are instead sponsored by Hethel-based car manufacturer Lotus, after clubs agreed not to feature betting sponsors on shirts marketed at children in 2007.
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Prior to Dafabet's arrival in 2019, the Canaries were sponsored by British gambling firm LeoVegas, which became the club's first ever betting sponsor in 2017.
In a poll conducted by this newspaper, 62pc of supporters said they would support a ban, while 38pc said they were happy for the betting firm to continue as the Canaries' shirt sponsor.
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Andrew Lawn of Canaries fan group Along Come Norwich said he would support a gambling sponsor ban, although he accepted the club's position that a gambling sponsor was the most lucrative financially.
He said: "I think a ban on betting sponsors would be a good thing and I would much prefer the club not to have a betting sponsor.
"In an ideal world the club wouldn't need the money from the shirt sponsor, money isn't the most important thing for me, the club represents the community so I would prefer they did something that was community led.
"I accept that they have to get money from somewhere, but I don't think it would be a bad idea if every club was banned so there's no advantage to having it in the same way they banned tobacco.
"I wouldn't say I'm unhappy with the sponsor but I think on a global scale if betting was banned from TV and all of that and I think there's a case to answer that yes it's millions of pounds but a club is more than just how much money it's got in the bank."
Norwich City football shirt collector and expert Billy Pointer said the issue was a "knife-edge" subject.
He explained: "I think from the government side of things it's a bit cheeky, because the amount of money that betting sponsors put in to clubs, no other sponsor can compete with that, it's nearly double that of what other sponsors can offer.
"But because we're in a pandemic, the government haven't helped football leagues and teams and then they expect the Premier League to come up with a project that pays for the clubs that are struggling, but you can't expect them to give all this money away without the money from betting sponsors.
"If there was a ban two or three years ago, there would probably be a lot more clubs in trouble now.
"It's tricky, because it doesn't matter what's on the front of the shirt, it doesn't mean I'm going to go and download the app. When we were sponsored by Aviva, I didn't go and buy all my house insurance with Aviva.
"But it's only my opinion, I do appreciate some people have had gambling issues in their families which has destroyed people's lives.
"In terms of how it looks, I think Dafabet is quite a nice sponsor because they change the colour of the logo to fit the shirt, if you remember with Aviva they wouldn't change the logo and they had to work around it and it ruins the shirt."
Norwich City and Dafabet have been contacted for comment.