Online Casino Funds Wayne Rooney’s Return To English football

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Online Casino Funds Wayne Rooney’s Return To English football ( Click to Enlarge )

This week it was announced that Wayne Rooney would be moving to Derby in January 2020 to take on the role of player and coach. The announcement of Rooney’s surprise return to English football has sparked controversy as it is being funded by the online casino 32Red.

Derby’s Sponsorship Deal

Derby has confirmed that the club has signed a new sponsorship deal with the current shirt that sponsors 32Red and announced that Rooney will be on a £90,000-a-week salary.

The Manchester United legend will also adopt the 32 shirt, as an obvious tribute to the Club’s primary sponsor.

Nick Banbury, the general manager of 32Red, told the Daily Telegraph that “This record-breaking sponsorship agreement is a significant step for us as we continue to reinvent the model of sponsorship to benefit both club and community.”

Fans have expressed concern, both that Rooney is being paid over four times the average weekly wage of a Championship player and that the club’s close association with an online casino will be detrimental to the sport. Of particular concern, is the potential influence of gambling advertisement on young football fans.

Concerns Of Legality

This comes in light of the increased focus on the relationship between football and gambling, leading some to speculate that Red32’s sponsorship deal is a cynical attempt to circumvent strict UK legislation surrounding gambling and advertisement.

Questions have been raised over whether the club will be able to meet the EFL’s financial fair play rules.

Richard Caborn, a former government minister associated with the 2005 Gambling Act, has told the Telegraph that Rooney is not setting a good example to young football fans, and that;

The gambling companies need to be doing themselves favours at the moment, but this is not going to go down well with football authorities or the government.”

The bookmaker Paddy Power has recently been in the news for ‘unsponsoring’ several football clubs, including Brighton, Huddersfield and Motherwell, in order to highlight the often invasive nature of gambling in football and other sports.

However, as Derby’s record-breaking sponsorship deal suggests, it is unlikely that this will become a trend within football.