The news that Aston Villa have partnered with another online gambling company for next season has definitely bought out the pitchforks and voodoo dolls, with many on the forum expressing, at best, distaste at the decision.
According to club suit Nicola Ibbotson,
“This is a record-breaking commercial Partnership for the Club, our promotion to the Premier League offers our Club Partners a global platform to reach our worldwide fan base.”
But many fans have no truck with this ‘deal with the devil’ and would sooner we had gone down the charity route (Acorns style), particularly in light of the perceived wealth of our owners.
It’s easy to see both sides of the argument. In an ideal world, football clubs should be (and be seen to be) promoting social and community initiatives, not selling out to tobacco, alcohol or gambling multinationals implicated in ruining lives.
But like it or not, football is big business. The money in the game, as we all know, is eye-watering and sponsorship deals are no exception. When we had Acorns on the front of our shirts, there was no such thing as financial fair play. Club owners were free to spend what they liked. Nowadays, they can’t.
It could be argued that Premier League clubs have enough income without the need for shirt sponsorship, and should offer charities the chance for some free advertising.
But all clubs, at any level, need to generate income and to do this competitively, they need to exploit every avenue available to them and that includes shirt sponsorship, or “commercial partnership” as it’s now known.
As site member SJH points out, sport and gambling go hand-in-hand, so replacing the partnership with 32Red with another gambling company in W88 is like-for-like and retaining a natural fit.
Money talks in football, and none louder than the money on offer from online gambling companies. Ultimately, if you feel that strongly about the deal, the answer is simple: don’t buy the kit. But like it or not, thee kind of deals are here to stay.
There may come a time in the future when the club are in a position to ‘put something back’, but until we are in a far stronger financial position, it’s hard to blame the board for taking advantage of such lucrative offers.
Thoughts, fine folks of Vital Villa?