Sources: Sunderland to dodge ban as seven-figure deal under the microscope
There are no plans to make EFL clubs like Sunderland abandon their relationships with gambling companies, sources have told Football Insider.
Premier League clubs will soon announce a voluntary ban on front-of-shirt gambling advertising in response to government pressure.
But a source with knowledge of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – who are set to release a white paper on gambling reform shortly – has told this site that there are no plans to extend the moratorium to the lower leagues.
EFL clubs are far more reliant on sponsorship from bookmakers than their top-flight counterparts, with some studies claiming that an outright ban could take £26m away from Championship, League One and League Two sides.
The imminent white paper will therefore acknowledge that an embargo on commercial deals with firms in the gambling sector would, at this stage, have cataclysmic consequences when finances in the lower leagues are already stretched.
That is despite widespread concerns about practices within the industry and its near-ubiquitous presence at all levels of the game.
Sunderland are one of six Championship clubs with a front-of-shirt gambling sponsor.
They signed with Spreadex in June last year, with the deal set to last until the summer of 2025.
While no official data has been released, the deal is believed to be worth north of £1m per season.
The sponsorship market has been squeezed since the pandemic, with many companies that historically have had close ties to football forced to reduce their advertising budgets.