In advance of Govt. decision

Premier League clubs to decide on voluntary ban of gambling sponsorship on shirts

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The Premier League - the top level of the English football league system- has requested clubs to vote on whether to bring in a voluntary ban on gambling sponsorship on shirts before potential government action, which could now be affected by UK Prime Minister and Gambling Minister's resignation on Thursday.

Half of last season's 20 top-flight teams had betting sponsors on their shirts, with the government hoping to decide on a ban before July 21. The Premier League supports a voluntary move where gambling sponsors are phased out within three years. To this end, 14 of its 20 clubs would need to vote in favor in order for it to be approvedBBC reports.

An email was sent to clubs on Monday, with a decision expected within the next week, according to the cited source. Government sources have recently said a final decision was yet to be made and that a ban on shirt sponsorship was still on the table, but it is understood that a voluntary ban has been discussed and could offer a middle ground for clubs and avert any legislation on the topic.

Premier League clubs are likely to be less affected by a ban given they can draw on other types of sponsorships. But the English Football League, -a league of professional teams from England and Wales sponsored by sports betting operator Sky Bet-, has warned the move could cost its clubs £40 million ($47.9 million) a year.

While it is not believed the potential ban would affect EGL clubs, choosing only top-flight clubs has been described as "incoherent" by campaigners and has been a point of contention for the Premier League.

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said: "We are undertaking the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years to make sure they are fit for the digital age. We will publish a white paper which sets out our vision for the sector in the coming weeks."

A University of Glasgow study claims more than 700 betting-related logos can be seen during the course of a match, an overexposure that has led many campaigners to also urge the Gov. to impose a ban on league and social media sponsorship, plus pitch-perimeter advertising.

A rift allegedly emerged at the top of the Conservative party last month when it came to the ban of sponsorship on football shirts, proving its controversial nature. Chris Philp, the UK minister responsible for gambling, announced his resignation from his appointed office today, swiftly followed by PM Boris Johnson, a move that could delay the upcoming White Paper.