Wembley Stadium to ban betting sponsors under sale plans

4 September 2018

he UK government has set out plans to prohibit gambling sponsorship deals at Wembley Stadium, should billionaire Shahid Khan prove successful in his bid to purchase the venue.

Khan, who also owns English Premier League football club Fulham, has offered £600m (€665.3m/$769.6m) for the stadium and the English Football Association (FA) is expected to make a decision on the bid before the end of the year.

However, as reported by The Times in May, Khan would not be permitted to sign a naming rights deal for the venue until 2057, with the FA keen to protect Wembley’s status as the ‘home of English football’.

The Times has now said that gambling sponsors would also not be allowed at the stadium, due to the FA’s position on such deals.

In June 2017, the FA opted to cut short a partnership with Ladbrokes following a re-examination of its approach to such commercial deals.

Current FA rules prohibit players, coaches and referees from betting on football anywhere in the world. The FA decided that it should not associate with betting companies due to this zero-tolerance approach to gambling.

The FA agreed to continue working with Ladbrokes and other bookmakers on sharing information on suspect betting patterns, as part of a wider effort to tackle match-fixing in football.

The move followed a high-profile case involving former England international Joey Barton, who was handed an 18-month ban from the sport after admitting to a misconduct charge related to betting.

Barton, now manager of third-tier, League 1 club Fleetwood Town, was found to have placed over 1,200 bets on matches between March 26, 2006, and May 13, 2016, which is in direct conflict with strict FA betting rules.

Image: Paul Arps