Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs Bans Gambling Companies from Inking Sponsorship Agreements with La Liga Clubs

Gambling operators will no longer be permitted to display their logos on football kits of La Liga clubs as of the following season. The ban has come as part of the Spanish Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzón’s efforts to bolster the regulation of sponsorship agreements between professional football clubs and gambling companies, with the decision set to have a direct impact on eight of the leading football clubs in Spain.

The eight La Liga football clubs that have a gambling operator as a main shirt sponsor are Sevilla, Valencia, Levante, Osasuna, Mallorca, Leganés, Alavés ad Granada. Furthermore, 17 out of the 20 La Liga clubs currently have contracts with gambling operators.

The move to ban gambling companies from having access to football stadiums across the country and being displayed on shirts of professional football clubs is one of the issued that were included in a royal decree draft, which was first unveiled in February 2020. According to reports, the modified draft, in which some changes have been brought, was set to be presented by Minister Garzón to the European Commission.

According to the updated initial wording of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ draft, sponsorship in sports kits or shirts will not be permitted to gambling operators on the territory of Spain.

Updated Wording of the Royal Decree on Advertising Now Set to the European Commission

The move of local authorities to impose a ban on gambling sponsorships in football follows the approval of the Royal Decree on Advertising. Under the latter, licensed gambling companies that operate in Spain are provided with a four-hour window from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM to advertise their services. The federal bill does not permit any other exposure to gambling advertising materials outside the abovementioned time period.

As mentioned above, apart from the restriction for gambling companies to have their logos appear on La Liga clubs’ shirts, they will no longer be allowed to ink sponsorship deals with football stadiums. Furthermore, they would not be permitted to create links between their services and any other aspect of the football clubs in the country.

The coronavirus crisis and the following massive lockdown in Spain have prevented the Royal Decree from becoming law. However, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs is confident that when Brussels gives the green light to the bill, as it is expected to do, the draft will be officially turned into law for the beginning of the 2020/2021 season of La Liga. As mentioned above, the measures that were reportedly sent to the European Commission yesterday, are aimed at reinforcing the restrictions that the Ministry unveiled in February.

According to reports, apart from the ban on gambling companies to ink sponsorship agreements with La Liga clubs, welcome offers to betting operators’ new customers could also be subject to restrictions, with a maximum amount of €100 being proposed. In addition, such offers will only be accessible to people who have been having their betting account for no less than a month, have deposited money in this account at least three times and have had all the required documents verified by the operator.

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