The League of Ireland (LOI) will be given exemption from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI)’s ban on betting sponsorships.
Two prominent clubs in Ireland’s top footballing division recently signed partnerships with gambling operators.
The league has taken a laid-back approach to betting sponsorships for clubs, saying that these are more of an “internal matter”.
Not the end of betting sponsorships in the LOI
Dundalk, who won the 2020 FAI Cup, recently announced a partnership with BetRegal. Meanwhile, Shamrock Rovers have partnered with international operator 888.
Commenting on the matter of betting partnerships in the LOI, the league’s director Mark Scanlon said: “We are quite happy with our own stance but club matters are internal.
“As long as they fit within UEFA regulation and FAI regulations, we’re happy with that. These things have continued to evolve over the last number of years; we have seen regulations come into place for areas like alcohol sponsorship and so on.”
He added: “We made our decisions internally within the FAI and the board of the FAI, who considered all situations when deciding sponsors.”
Opposition to gambling sponsorships in Ireland
In Ireland, there has been a lot of recent demand for stricter regulations when it comes to betting partnerships.
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and Gaelic Players Association (GPA) have both mentioned their worries related to the topic. Both have said that a ban on gambling advertising during televised sporting events should be introduced.
Echoing the GAA and GPA’s views has been the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland.
The Irish Labour Party has also pushed for a ban on gambling advertising. Last month, it revealed the Gambling (Prohibition of Advertising) Bill 2021. If this comes into force, all operators in the country will need to adhere to a whistle-to-whistle ban on promoting themselves.
Towards the end of 2020, the Dáil passed the Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act. Ireland’s gambling legislation will be reformed this year, as a result of this.
While clubs in the LOI will still be able to sign betting partnerships, the FAI chose not to agree a deal with popular Irish bookmaker Paddy Power. The association said it was “not something they wanted to pursue”.