Association sport

The Dutch Football Association opposes a total ban on gaming company shirt sponsorships; proposes alternative measures

The Dutch Football Association KNVBor Royal Dutch Football Association- said on Monday that he is against the total ban of online game providers sponsoring sports teams, a decision that should be applied by the government in January 2025.

The country’s football association and professional clubs have sent a letter to Frank Weerwind, Minister of Legal Protection, in a plea to change strategy and try more targeted information and measures which might prove more effective than the proposed ban.

Online gambling became legal in the Netherlands in October last year, which quickly led to an avalanche of online gambling advertisements, raising concerns about gambling addiction and protecting vulnerable groups such as young people. This prompted the government to announce a series of measures, which are now causing the actors to react.

According to the KNVB, a ban on letting online casinos sponsor sports teams ‘goes too far’ the association said, as reported by NL Times. “With the planned total ban, the Cabinet is no longer looking for alternatives to limit the risks of online gambling,” wrote the football body.

Instead of properly addressing concerns about problem gambling, the association says the ban on sponsorship would result in much lower income for sports teams, between 40 and 70 million euros per yearwhich could instead be invested in youth training and social programs.

Minister Frank Weerwind.

According to the KNVB, the world of sport is already taking various measures to combat the risks of gambling addiction and match-fixing. “The professional football industry takes the risks of online gambling very seriously and wants to develop broader rules and focus on more information,” reads the association’s letter.

Instead, the body suggested other less drastic measures such as not letting “role models” or influencers – such as football players and coaches – appear in gambling advertisements; instead of using them to warn of the risks of gambling.

In addition, clubs could adapt their contracts with gambling providers to ensure that their advertisements do not cause moral or material harm, and exclude young people. They could also use their channels to educate fans about the dangers of gambling addiction, the KNVB suggests.

The alternative to the total ban proposed by the KNVB also suggests let the football industry set its own regulations on issues such as shirt sponsorship, boarding and appointing partners.

“An online gambling provider may ultimately be the main sponsor, but must give space on a shirt to a social organization,” the body said, as the quoted source reports. He also pointed out that the industry could also ensure that youth teams are not involved in gambling and phase out mentions of gambling companies on signs and boarding.

The partner The bill to limit advertising is expected to be introduced in stages, with the ban on untargeted advertising coming into force in 2023. This provision concerns advertisements for which Internet users have not actively expressed an interest, for example when they use online search engines to find gambling sites.

From 2024, online gaming companies will no longer be allowed to sponsor programs and eventsthe ban on sponsoring sports facilities and jerseys coming into force the following year. This implies that current sports clubs have two and a half years to find new sponsors.

Weerwind also announced a banning the use of celebrities and influencers in gambling ads.