Chelsea Fans Object To Proposed Gambling Sponsorship Deal
Chelsea fans have used an official poll to voice their animosity towards a proposal that would see the club ink a one-year front-of-shirt sponsorship agreement with Stake.com, one of the biggest casino sites online.
The side once bankrolled by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich ended its most recent domestic campaign in a disappointing 12th position and a full 45 points behind champions Manchester City, despite shelling out over £600million on new players.
A consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly purchased Chelsea last year for approximately $5.41 billion (€4.95 billion) and the club had been hoping to begin its 2023/24 Premier League campaign with the logo for American streaming service Paramount+ emblazoned upon its shirts.
However, this arrangement was subsequently blocked by the Premier League over concerns it could upset existing television rights holders such as Sky Sports.
Chelsea’s existing front-of-shirt sponsorship deal with mobile telecommunications firm Three is due to expire later this month and the club is said to be in advanced talks with Stake.com.
That is despite a forthcoming Premier League ban on gambling shirt sponsorship, which is set to begin from the summer of 2025.
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A new survey conducted by the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) has now found that 77% of fans disagree or strongly disagree with the proposed Stake.com deal due to concerns it could undermine the independent society’s gambling harms awareness efforts.
The CST runs problem gambling information workshops at a selection of west London schools and the group declared that the Stake.com alliance would make a ‘total mockery’ of the good work it has pioneered.
“We understand Chelsea’s desire to maximize revenue streams across the whole club,” read a statement from the CST. “Whilst we accept that it will happen, it must not take place at the expense of the club’s values.”
The CST has moreover called the envisioned Stake.com deal ‘short-sighted’ as it could see any future problem gambling awareness campaigns linked to the club being construed as ‘tokenistic’ and has asked the Chelsea’s board to commit to an open dialogue over any such sponsorship decisions.
“It is public knowledge that the sponsorship with Three was due to expire this summer [but] the CST is disheartened and unsure as to why it has taken until June to reportedly establish this new sponsor,” the CST statement read.
“An online casino and betting company as the primary shirt sponsor is not in line with the commitment of growing Chelsea as a ‘world-class’ organization.”
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Established in 2017, Stake.com agreed a multi-year front-of-shirt sponsorship deal with fellow Premier league side Everton only last summer and processes in excess of 80 billion transactions from its body of over five million registered customers annually.
The domain calls itself ‘a worldwide leader in crypto gambling with one of the best casino apps and sports betting platforms for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
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