Newcastle and Sunderland could be hit by Labour call for ban on gambling firms sponsoring football shirts

Credit: Press Association

Newcastle and Sunderland football clubs could be forced to change their shirt sponsors following comments from the deputy leader of the Labour party.

Speaking on Wednesday, Tom Watson said gambling firms should be banned from football shirt sponsorship deals.

Newcastle are sponsored by far east company Fun88, while Sunderland have Dafabet on their shirts.

With 25 of the 92 league clubs, including nine out of 20 Premier League sides, currently engaged in such sponsoring, shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) secretary Tom Watson said it was time to take action.

Expressing concern at a rise in problem gambling, Mr Watson insisted it was wrong for young fans to be exposed to the logos of betting firms on football shirts.

Mr Watson said clubs should take the lead from the Football Association as it ended its commercial agreement with Ladbrokes in June after deciding it was not appropriate for it to partner with a gambling company.

Labour said the FA already prohibits under-18 teams from displaying the logos of gambling firms as that would be classed as wearing clothing which would be deemed as "detrimental to the welfare, health or general interest of young persons".

Children are being targeted with a record number of gambling ads with the industry spending £1.4 billion promoting betting since 2012, Mr Watson said.

He cited a report by the Gambling Commission in August which estimated that around 430,000 people in the UK are problem gamblers, with over two million people either suffering from a serious gambling habit or being at risk of addiction.