MX23RW : Thursday, January 23 08:38:06| >> :600:726844:726844:

Everton chief admits she would rather not have betting company sponsorship

Everton chief admits she would rather not have betting company sponsorship
© Reuters
SportPesa has been on the Toffees' first team strip since agreeing a five-year deal in 2017.

Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale has admitted that “in an ideal world” the club would not be sponsored by a gambling company.

Kenyan online betting firm SportPesa has been on the club’s shirts since a five-year deal was struck in May 2017.

The close links between football and the betting industry are firmly in the spotlight and, at the club’s AGM on Tuesday evening, board officials were asked about their close association with the company and how it could comfortably sit alongside the work the club’s Everton in the Community did around mental health issues.

Denise Barrett-Baxendale is the Everton chief executive
Denise Barrett-Baxendale is the Everton chief executive (Peter Byrne/PA).

Barrett-Baxendale accepted it would be preferable to have a different sponsor going forward.

“I think you raise a good point,” she said.

“The company that we deal with has responsible gambling and we know our sport is underpinned by gambling.

“In an ideal world moving forward we would look to have a different type of sponsor on the front of our shirts like all football clubs would, but that is a commercial decision that we make as a football club.

“SportPesa have actually been a fantastic partner to Everton Football Club in terms of the funds they have given to support Everton in the Community, but I do agree it is responsible betting.

“We can’t stop people taking a choice but certainly don’t want to be responsible for driving irresponsible betting.”

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