Derby County was urged to consider abandoning its sponsorship tie-up between Wayne Rooney and the online casino 32Red by sports minister Nigel Adams y
Derby County was urged to consider abandoning its sponsorship tie-up between Wayne Rooney and the online casino 32Red by sports minister Nigel Adams yesterday.
Mr Adams said putting the striker in the number 32 shirt in order to promote the Gibraltar-based betting company was a ‘very crafty move’.
Former England captain Rooney was accused of ‘selling his soul’ after agreeing an 18-month contract worth £7.8million to return from America to play in England with the Championship club.
Rooney’s image was used alongside ‘32’-branded posts on social media, and he will work with the casino on ‘community initiatives’ as part of the deal.
Rooney (right, at the announcement of his signing), 33, will wear the number 32 shirt after joining the Championship side, which signed a ‘record breaking’ sponsorship deal with 32Red on the back of his transfer. But Nigel Adams (left), 52, also the MP for Selby and Ainsty in North Yorkshire, said clubs ‘need to be very conscious of that link with gambling’
Rooney’s image was used alongside ‘32’-branded posts on social media, and he will work with the casino on ‘community initiatives’ as part of the deal (pictured, Rooney with his new number 32 shirts)
Derby County refused to backtrack last week after being criticised by the Church of England, MPs and one of the NHS’s top psychologists.
But the minister’s comments are the first sign that the club’s move could spark further regulation to protect vulnerable gamblers.
Mr Adams, speaking at a Commonwealth Games event yesterday at Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, said: ‘The 32 shirt is a very crafty move by Derby.
‘I would ask Derby County to look within themselves and think about the impact that problem gambling can have on some in society, particularly vulnerable people and youngsters.
‘They have got a social responsibility to be mature and grown up. So I understand the concern. Football needs to be mindful of the problem gambling has.
‘They have their guidelines, so I would urge the clubs to abide by not just the rules but the spirit of what the Gambling Commission and the FA have laid down.
‘If clubs break the rules then they shouldn’t be surprised if there ends up being further action. Clubs need to be very conscious of that link with gambling. It did raise an eyebrow when I saw the 32 number on Wayne Rooney’s shirt.’
He added: ‘Hopefully, Derby County will be mindful and will be talking to the FA because we have to make sure we look after those who are vulnerable.’
The transfer also caused astonishment given Rooney’s own issues with gambling in the past. The striker (pictured with one of his new shirts) has told of his wife Coleen’s anger when he lost £50,000 through betting
The Daily Mail is demanding greater protection for punters with its Stop The Gambling Predators campaign.
This season, half the 20 Premier League teams and 16 of the 24 Championship sides are sponsored by gambling firms. A whistle-to-whistle ban on advertising during live sport came into force this month with the backing of ministers. Some bookies are trying to rein in some of the industry’s behaviour.
Ladbrokes Coral, owned by GVC, has called for an industry-imposed ban on television advertising, shirt sponsorship and branding on pitch-side hoardings, and William Hill said last week that betting firms should avoid ‘cheap publicity hits at a time when gambling operators are under scrutiny’.
Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans, said Rooney should make decisions in the interests of young fans, and ‘not his bank balance’.
His comments followed criticism from Matt Gaskell, clinical lead for the Northern Gambling Service, who said it was ‘harmful’ for the star to wear the number 32.
Peter Keogh, whose son Lewis, a gambling addict, killed himself at 34, said he was ‘amazed an ex-captain of England could stoop that low’.
The transfer also caused astonishment given Rooney’s own issues with gambling in the past.
The striker has told of his wife Coleen’s anger when he lost £50,000 through betting.
In 2006 the Football Association investigated claims that he had racked up debts of £700,000 in an England team dressing-room gambling ring.
There are thought to be 340,000 adults with a betting addiction in the UK, with another 500,000 at risk of developing one.