A new initiative launched by the EFL and partner Sky Bet will be officially launched to football fans this weekend, with the commitment to responsible gambling given its debut at the 2018 Sky Bet EFL Play-Offs.
All players taking part across the Championship, League One and League Two Play-Off Finals at Wembley Stadium over the May Bank Holiday weekend will be wearing new sleeve badges bearing the slogan “When the fun stops. Stop.”
The badges, which illustrate and highlight both parties’ commitment to the cause, will then be adopted across all League games from the start of the 2018/19 season onwards.
The commitment was agreed as part of the recently announced five-year extension to the partnership that sees the sports gambling company continue as headline sponsor of the Sky Bet EFL until 2023/24, in one of the longest and most significant partnerships in professional sport.
In addition, in a first for English football, Sky Bet will soon begin funding responsible gambling sessions for all EFL clubs, providing first-team players and club staff with specialist training and education.
The programme will be delivered by EPIC Risk Management as the leading independent harm minimisation consultancy in the UK, and will launch across all clubs over the next season with each club receiving a day’s training on gambling-related harm together with follow-up counselling and support that any players require.
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.
The first clubs to take part in initial training sessions are:
- Accrington Stanley
- Birmingham City
- Carlisle United
- Charlton Athletic
- Lincoln City
- Newport County
- Norwich City
- Oldham Athletic
EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “The extension to the agreement between the EFL and Sky Bet means that the working relationship has been extended to 11 years, making it one of the longest and most significant partnerships in professional sport.
“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 by fans 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.”
Richard Flint, CEO of Sky Betting & 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.”