Brentford FC was named today as a club that has carried links to online gaming firms on pages of its website that could be seen to be aimed at children. The Club apologises for allowing this to happen and issues the following statement:
Brentford FC is part of the EFL Digital network of websites and we have been working with the league to remove all logos of gaming companies from any pages of our website that could be seen to be aimed at children. LeoVegas, our shirt sponsor and title partner, have also been working with ourselves and the Advertising Standards Authority to ensure we meet their code and their logo has been removed from our website until a way can be found to keep it off those pages aimed at minors. The Club is aware it has been in breach of this code in the past – due to the misunderstanding outlined by the EFL in their statement (which can be seen below) – but has been working hard to ensure this does not happen again.
As a football club, we are very much aware of the responsibility we have in not exposing those under the age of 18 to gambling. While our title partner is a gambling company, we do everything in our power to limit that exposure to minors. This includes removing logos from pages targeted at children on our website and in our matchday programme.
We have also created a new family website – family.brentfordfc.com, specifically aimed at engaging with young people and their families that attend our matches. As this website is outside the EFL Digital network, it is free of reference to any gaming partner, we have even removed logos from shirts that young fans can colour in.
Brentford FC were also at the forefront of the responsible gambling education programme being run by Sky Bet. We were one of the first clubs to undertake the programme and widened access to that session out to include all our young players and football staff.
EFL STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE EFL AND ITS 72 CLUBS
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “The EFL has taken immediate steps to resolve an issue on some of its Club websites regarding the appearance of betting logos on pages that are primarily designed to engage children and young people under 18.
“As soon as we were made aware of the issue, which came about as a result of a misinterpretation of the Advertising Standards Authority Code, a resolution was quickly developed and implemented to ensure the matter was resolved as promptly as possible. We apologise to all supporters of our Clubs for any concerns this may have raised.
“All Clubs who have betting partners have been instructed to remove any logos from pages aimed at minors. It is important to stress that along with our 72 Clubs, the EFL is acutely aware of the wider concerns regarding football’s relationship with the gambling industry, in particular with young people and as a result, has introduced a Memorandum of Understanding with title partner Sky Bet, which covers best practice, protecting minors and the vulnerable and how we collectively market the partnership. This makes the oversight even more embarrassing.
“The agreement represents a shared belief that both the EFL and Sky Bet should always be mindful of our collective responsibilities in ensuring that we consider the relevant audiences in communications which relate to betting. This is especially relevant to minors and the following provisions are in place to ensure messages shared are appropriate:
- Any communications targeted at minors will not include reference to Sky Bet
- Sky Bet kit branding, such as Sleeve Badges, is not incorporated onto replica shirts sold to under 18s in in children’s sizes
- Players under the age of 18 are not obliged to wear Sky Bet branded kit
- Sky Bet will not market themselves in family areas of stadiums
“In addition, Sky Bet have recently begun funding responsible gambling sessions for all EFL Clubs, providing first team players and Club staff with specialist training and education to ensure all involved understand the issues linked to gambling, the rules around betting integrity, and know how to look out for signs of potential harm in their teammates.
“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.”