The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) will not be following its British counterpart, the Premier League, when it comes to banning gambling logos from the team jerseys. That’s what SPFL officials made clear in an announcement this week that is steeped in a spirit of independence that would make Scottish her William Wallace proud.
SPFL officials at all levels are being very up front about their reasons for maintaining gambling sponsorships; cold, hard cash.
In a statement from the SPFL, reported on by the Scottish Sun, that sentiment was broadcast loud and clear with the league saying, “For many SPFL clubs, sponsorship from gambling companies is a significant source of income which helps to support their business models and enables investment in many of the important community activities which clubs undertake.
“Individual sponsorships are a matter for each club and there are no plans for a league-wide proscription of such deals.”
Given the prominence of Premier League clubs versus SPFL clubs, the decision seems like a no-brainer, despite the inevitable criticism. In January, Austin Villa was hit with backlash when it entered into a jersey sponsorship deal with BK8, an online casino based in Malaysia. Team officials hit back at critics explaining that this type of sponsorship deal is critical to the life of the team.
Criticism of gambling sponsorships in this particular league is not only misguided, but it targets a very small group of teams. As of this writing, only three SPFL clubs (Rangers, Celtic and Dundee United) even use gambling logos on their jerseys.