Aston Villa is continuing with its BK8 sponsorship deal despite pushback from supporters and pressure from fan groups to ban gambling and crypto firms from such deals.
BK8 will be taking over from Cazoo as Villa’s main shirt sponsors, signing a three-year deal despite increasing pressure for clubs to drop gambling related sponsors.
The gambling firm was previously dropped as main sponsors of Norwich City back in 2021 due to sexually provocative marketing content.
Premier League clubs are under increasing pressure to drop gambling sponsors with the government expected to introduce stricter regulations in the Premier League and the rest of the football pyramid when it comes to crypto assets and gambling sponsors
Anti-gambling campaign group The Big Step said: “We know the government has the desire to act so that's exactly what it should do. A voluntary arrangement would be an acceptance of the harm caused but it would be naive to think both the football industry and gambling industry will stick to it.
“That's why the government must take control of this farcical situation and kick gambling ads out of football.”
The FA Cup recently signed a deal with cryptocurrency sportsbook operator Stake.com to stream third round cup matches as well as agreeing sponsorship deals with several lower league sides who played top-flight sides.
When reports of the sponsorship deal with BK8 emerged, the Aston Villa Supporters’ Trust and the Aston Villa Fans Consultation Group (FCG) released a joint statement demanding the deal be scrapped.
In a statement after meeting club officials the FCG said: “The club provided the FCG an insight into the tender process and provided assurances of an extensive due diligence selection process for all commercial partners. In addition, brands would align with the club’s ethics and values.
“Due to contractual obligations and being mid-contract with the incumbent front-of-shirt sponsor, the club would not confirm or deny the reports. The FCG’s understanding is that the reports are correct, and BK8 will be the new front-of-shirt sponsor for the next three seasons.
“While some fans will be disappointed after Villa’s current front-of-shirt sponsor moved away from gambling companies, the commercial reality is that to teams outside the top six, such sponsors offer clubs twice as much financially as non-gambling companies.”
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