FAI ‘WILL DEBATE’ CUTTING TIES WITH GAMBLING FIRMS
FAI chief executive John Delaney has refused to confirm that the association will cut its ties with gambling companies but admitted that it’s a “fair debate” to have.
The FAI’s deal with official betting partner Ladbrokes is due to end this year, although there are still two years left on an arrangement with streaming company Trackchamp which allows overseas viewers to gamble on League of Ireland games.
It was reported last week that the FAI were preparing to sever ties, but Mr Delaney indicated yesterday that the board will not be making any decisions until later this year. In February, the GAA decided to ban all gambling sponsorship deals.
“We’ll let you know when we decide,” said Mr Delaney.
“It’s a fair debate to have but the first place to have those debates is internally, then you present your decision as to why you did, or did not, take a sponsorship.
“Those funds (Trackchamp) are passed straight onto the League of Ireland clubs.
“Bear in mind that when you drop a sponsor, you are dropping that revenue so you have a debate in an informed way,” he said.
Mr Delaney acknowledged that sponsorships with gambling and alcohol companies can present difficulties but argued that the money can be used for positive purposes.
“With any sponsorship programme, [you look at] how that money benefits society,” he said.
“People say, for instance, ‘Well, should you have a sponsorship with alcohol?’
“But [it’s] how you spend that money and where it goes to benefit football and benefit society.
“We were in 43 clubs [in Cork] this week and none of those clubs were saying, ‘We want to build houses or apartments on this land – we want to build facilities for kids and we want to have better dressing rooms’ or whatever it would be.
“There are a couple of categories in sponsorship which, how will I put it to you, are sometimes controversial.
“Ultimately for the association – and this applies to a lot of sporting bodies – when you get that revenue, where does that revenue go? That’s the key to me,” he added.