Several betting links were found in the junior sections of 15 football clubs’ websites.
An investigation by the BBC discovered that several logos, all linking to gambling sites, appeared on football club websites targeted towards minors. The logos frequently appeared under details of how to join the junior clubs and become a mascot.
Around 15 football clubs spanning featured in the Premier League, the Championship, League One and the Scottish Premiership, all featured logos of betting firms or links to gambling sites and all of the clubs have gambling firms as their shirt sponsors.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) demanded immediate action as their rules state that gambling adverts cannot be targeted at anyone under the age of 18.
One of the football clubs featuring links was the Wolverhampton Wanderers who contained the logo of a gambling company on their ‘Junior Fans’ page. If clicked, the link would open to a gambling page featuring Wolves players.
Aston Villa’s ‘Junior Villans’ page featured two logos of gambling companies. One opened to an Ant and Dec Saturday Night Takeaway game and the other to a Jurassic World game. Meanwhile, Scottish Premiership team Glasgow Celtics also featured links to gambling pages.
According to the BBC, the three websites have since removed the links and the English Football League apologised and some of the football clubs have since removed the adverts from the junior sections of their websites.
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ASA spokesperson Shabnum Mustapha said: “Our compliance team will be writing to the Premier League, English Football League, the FA and SFA to set out clearly our concerns in this area, to highlight the UK gambling rules and how they apply to football club websites.”
Tim Miller, the Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, said: “Sports teams should be ensuring that all content on such web pages is appropriate for children and we expect gambling companies to take responsibility for where their adverts and logos appear.”
The news comes after the NHS urged football clubs to do more to help tackle gambling addiction.