Lewes to wear shirts warning of gambling dangers

Lewes ' shirt
Lewes announced the shirt will be worn with the Gambling With Lives logo until October

Lewes will become the highest ranked team in English football to wear a shirt sponsor warning about the dangers of gambling.

The seventh-tier club is to promote the Gambling With Lives charity on their shirt until October.

It says football sponsorship by betting companies is "at saturation point" and causing "harm" to fans.

This season 27 of the 44 teams in the Premier League and Championship have betting firms on their shirts.

A Gambling Commission report says there are 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK, with a further two million people at risk.

Meanwhile, a more recent study said the number of children classed as having a gambling problem has quadrupled to more than 50,000 in just two years.

Gambling With Lives said the decision by Lewes, who in 2017 became the first club in the world to offer their men's and women's teams equal pay, was a "perfectly timed antidote" to other clubs who have recently signed sponsorship deals with gambling firms.

Lewes' stance follows that of amateur side Headingley AFC, who took the charity as a shirt sponsor earlier this year.

In August, Derby County announced a contract with a casino company after signing Wayne Rooney, who is set to wear a shirt number which corresponds to the firm's name.

Last week, Huddersfield Town were fined £50,000 by the Football Association for wearing shirts with an oversized logo of a betting company during a pre-season friendly.

Gambling With Lives co-founder Charles Ritchie told BBC Sport: "Football has become infected by gambling and this prevalence has normalised and glamourised gambling to young football fans.

"This partnership with Lewes FC symbolises that people within football are becoming increasingly angered by the prevalence of gambling within the sport they love, as well as becoming more aware of the dangers involved."

Lewes director John Peel added: "Sponsorship of football by the gambling industry is at saturation point and we need to recognise the harm this has caused to young adults and children and ask ourselves whether the football world was better or worse when there was no gambling advertising in it."

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