FA urged to 'reconsider' deal with betting website

FA urged to 'reconsider' deal with betting website

BETTING companies have waived exclusive rights to stream FA Cup matches in a bid to resolve the row over a deal which was criticised for encouraging gambling.

Government sources welcomed Thursday's developments but Adams earlier made it clear he expected the FA to look to go further "urgently".

In a statement on Friday, an FA spokesperson said: "The FA is in discussions with the BBC and BT Sport, our United Kingdom broadcast partners for the FA Cup, to ensure that every FA Cup match scheduled outside of the Saturday blocked broadcast hours is now made available to watch live on BBC, BT Sport or on FA platforms".

"They are therefore happy for IMG to offer the rights to screen these games to the Football Association or another appropriate body so the games can be viewed for free by the public with immediate effect".

The seven bookmakers that hold sole domestic rights to stream FA Cup matches not shown by the BBC or BT Sport have agreed to offer them to a platform which can be viewed for free.

The BGC's statement is supported by Bet365, GVC Holdings (which owns Ladbrokes and Coral), Flutter Entertainment (which owns Paddy Power and Betfair), William Hill and Kindred Group (which owns Unibet).

The FA's "Heads Up" mental health awareness campaign was promoted ahead of last weekend's third-round ties, which given the link between problem gambling and mental health issues was especially embarrassing for the governing body.

This follows on from the recent announcement by the FA which saw the association state that it planned to review the media sales process for the 2024-25 season onwards, when its deal with IMG expires.

The FA announced in July 2017 that it had cut all ties with gambling firms, ending a deal with Ladbrokes, and has suggested it will review future broadcast rights.

"This arrangement is not exclusively through Bet365". This season, ten of the 20 Premiership clubs have been sponsored by a gambling company.

Boris Johnson led a number of MPs in criticing the FA for allowing this to happen. They're also looking at all options to see if this current deal can be restricted. Still, the recently revealed media rights deals have been under fierce criticism considering the previous anti-gambling policy followed by the Football Association and the measures it has been taking to keep gambling away from professional football.

"They are - it's fair to say from the conversation I had this morning - more than embarrassed from this situation and we will be making it very clear when we have a face-to-face meeting with them next week what steps we expect them to take next".

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