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FA Proposed a Levy on Betting Companies to Fund Grassroots Football and the Industry Is Not Happy About It

- October 29, 2018 By Oliver Young -

Earlier this week, Martin Glenn, the Chief Executive of Football Association gave an interview for a newspaper, proposing a bold move and asking betting operators to pay a tax to the Football Association, in order to fund the grassroots level football development. The reaction is a result of the failure to sell the Wembley Stadium for £600m to the American billionaire Shahid Khan.

Glenn says that currently the government, the Football Association, and the Premier League manage to collect £64m to support the Football Foundation, but £80m or £100m could do so much more for the foundation. With that, he basically asks for at least £20m from betting operators. The statement faced instant negative comments by industry’s giants since the gambling operators are already paying a 15% tax, introduced in 2014 with the aim to control the payment of taxes by off-shore gambling operators who obtained a gambling license by Gibraltar.

FA criticized by the gambling industry for proposing a tax to fund grassroots football development.

FA criticized by the gambling industry for proposing a tax to fund grassroots football development.

Glenn’s Explanation

Glenn went for the explanation that betting companies benefit from football and actually people place bets courtesy of their intellectual property. For that purpose, it is only natural for betting operators to pay a share of their revenue to the sport that made that revenue possible in the first place.

In addition, he says that the FA is not asking for an enormous amount of money, but just a small lump of the share. He’s positive that the tax is actually worth considering since it would be brilliant if the grassroots football budgets could increase.

It is worth mentioning that a similar proposal was mentioned a year ago, where the FA explicitly said that gambling is a filthy business and that they want no public association with it. But probably the collapse of the Wembley selling plan has changed their views.

Wilmot’s Opposing View

Senet Group’s Chair, Gillian Wilmot finds this proposal preposterous and says that it only makes the links of betting and sports stronger and is contrary to what the FA have said previously. She then continues criticizing the proposal, saying that the Football Association already has more than enough revenue coming from attendance, viewing figures from local bettors and especially, from sponsorships.

She, instead, proposes that if any more money is to be raised, it should be given to those who need help from gambling-related problems, those who have suicidal thoughts and those who need help getting rid of the gambling habit. She points out that there are many others who need that kind of help and is very concerned for the young and vulnerable people affected by gambling problems.

Hawkswood’s Comment

Remote Gambling Association’s CEO Clive Hawkswood, expressed his dismay even more bluntly, saying that the betting industry already pays football for the use of their intellectual property rights and that this kind of proposal makes no sense. He adds that for a sport considered to be extremely wealthy, additional money should not be given to football. The significant money flow from sponsorships, joint ventures, and advertising are enough for the FA’s revenue.

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