EFL title sponsor Sky Bet has launched a new responsible gambling campaign designed to educate players and staff from every one of the 72 EFL clubs about gambling related harm and Brentford will be one of the first clubs involved. The programme, to be delivered by EPIC Risk Management, the leading independent harm minimisation consultancy in the UK, will launch across all clubs over the next season. It will begin at Birmingham City, Norwich City, Charlton Athletic, Brentford, Accrington Stanley, Carlisle United, Lincoln City, Newport County, Oldham Athletic and Portsmouth during the coming weeks.
EPIC will provide each club with training similar to that which it has delivered to Chelsea FC, the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the Rugby Players’ Association. In addition, it will work with current networks within professional football to signpost support for any player or club official who requires it. The aim of the training will be to ensure players understand the potential risks associated with gambling, the rules around betting integrity, and know how to look out for signs of potential harm in their teammates.
Each club will receive a day’s training from EPIC Risk Management on gambling-related harm together with follow up counselling and support that any players require. As part of the awareness campaign, responsible gambling shirt logos which will be visible on every club’s shirt from the start of next season. They were also used during the Play-Off Finals and that same weekend a responsible gambling advertising campaign ran across all media and at Wembley Stadium.
Richard Flint, CEO of Sky Betting and Gaming, said: “When we announced the extension of our EFL sponsorship we were keen to put safer gambling at the heart of our renewed partnership. By funding such a vital service for every club we want to play our part in reducing gambling related harm amongst their players and wider staff. I firmly believe that responsible operators can add value to sport through partnerships like this.”
Paul Buck, CEO of EPIC Risk Management said: “A recent Professional Players Federation survey concluded that professional sportspeople are at least three times more likely to be problem gamblers. Our work across other professional sports suggest this is understated. We look forward to working with Sky Bet and the EFL to ensure gambling related harm is reduced across the players and the clubs in what we believe is the most comprehensive programme ever completed in world sport.”
Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive, said: “The longevity of any partnership is dependent on each party understanding what the other is trying to achieve and it is clear that the EFL and Sky Bet are aligned in our ambition to increase the collective efforts to supporting issues around problem gambling. Betting in football should only serve to enhance the matchday experience and I hope that by providing our campaign with visibility at every single game that supporters will be encouraged to stay in control and gamble safely. The work that will take place with EFL Clubs, players and staff alike is a hugely significant step forward and will hopefully have a positive impact on all participants in the professional game for many years to come.”
In recent days the EFL also announced a new partnership with Watchfinder the first ever ‘Official Timekeeper of the EFL Play-Off Finals. The EFL Board also met to discuss discussed the proposed sale of Wembley Stadium and the potential implications for the League and its 72 member clubs. They issued a statement that can be seen here. Any Bees fans interested in reading more on the FA's potential sale of Wembley Stadium can see updates from the governing body here and here.