Betting companies offer to drop exclusive FA Cup coverage after criticism

The seven UK betting companies with exclusive rights to screen FA Cup matches have offered to cancel the exclusivity of the deals and permit the Football Association to point out games itself, following sustained criticism from campaigners and politicians.

The offer, made by the Betting and Gaming Council on behalf of the businesses – Bet365, Betfair, William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes, Unibet and Paddy Power – was announced after the FA had begun talks with the marketing giant IMG about the likelihood and certain cost of withdrawing from the exclusive element of the controversial arrangement.

IMG bought the FA Cup media rights in early 2017 then sold to the seven gambling firms the deals under which they might exclusively live-stream on their websites matches that didn’t begin at 3pm on a Saturday and weren’t picked for live broadcast by the BBC or BT Sport.

The FA decided in May 2017 that it might cancel its then partnership with Ladbrokes and not accept any sponsorships from betting sites, but the rights deals for the FA Cup with the betting companies had already been concluded by IMG, from 2018 to 2024. Given the FA’s public stance, when the outcry over the deals erupted in the week , officials moved immediately to ascertain whether the administration could withdraw from them, although they feared the betting companies could enforce very substantial compensation. agen judi bola nasional

A senior gambling industry source told the Guardian that the betting companies wouldn’t be trying to find any refund from IMG or the FA for abandoning the exclusive broadcast rights, and would write off the value of the deals.

The sports minister, Nigel Adams, had called on the FA to review the deals, following a storm of criticism that such deals tie football support to gambling much too closely. Instead, the betting companies themselves volunteered to offer up that key element of their rights, to point out the matches exclusively to people that had already placed a back their site or had an account with money in it.

The FA itself had insisted thereon condition of the deals; the administration is known to possess considered it a protection against general gambling marketing to football supporters, restricting the live streaming to existing betting account holders.

In a statement Brigid Simmonds, chair of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “Our members didn’t seek exclusivity for the rights to screen FA Cup games. they’re therefore happy for IMG to supply the rights to screen these games to the Football Association or another appropriate body in order that the games are often viewed for free of charge by the general public with immediate effect.”

However it’s not actually within IMG’s remit to supply the streaming rights, because it bought only the betting rights from the FA.