Culture Secretary urges FA to ‘reconsider’ Bet365 deal

Business News

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has said she hopes the Football Association will “reconsider” after it allowed a betting company to broadcast FA Cup matches more than two years after promising it would end partnerships with gambling firms.

Bet365, which allows football fans to watch play if they place a bet via their app, has been showing matches since the start of last season.

The partnership drew criticism from viewers and campaigners over the weekend when all matches were delayed by a minute to promote the Duke of Cambridge’s mental health charity.

Ms Morgan tweeted: “This is a contractual matter for the FA & Bet365 but things have moved on since the contract was signed & I hope they will re-consider.”

The FA announced in July 2017 that it would no longer have a betting partner after terminating a contract with Ladbrokes.

A spokesman said the FA would review the arrangements of its deal with IMG, the third party that sold the rights to Bet365, when the contract expires after the end of next season.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of The Football Supporters’ Association, said: “This deal highlights the major concerns fans have about the growth of gambling in football – governing bodies need to take these concerns seriously.

“Through our partnership with GambleAware, we are taking real steps to promote safer gambling in football and we call on the FA to get around the table on the issue. There is much more to be done to protect fans from the risks of gambling.”