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A petition requesting Premier League Everton cut ties with gambling operator Stake.com has reached more than 20,000 signatures.

The petition, hosted by online campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, was created earlier this month by Everton supporter Ben Melvin, who said the sponsorship agreement would lead to children and young supporters being “bombarded with the Stake.com brand every time they watch their favourite team play.”

More than 20,000 supporters have since joined Melvin’s call for Everton to drop the sponsorship deal, which was agreed earlier this month.

The deal was a record breaker for Everton, marking the highest value commercial sponsorship in the club’s 144-year history. 

The Merseyside club agreed that Stake.com would feature on both men’s and women’s playing shirts, in addition to screens and media backdrops at home stadium Goodison Park and across Everton’s digital media platforms.

Stake is therefore set to overtake car retailer Cazoo as Everton’s main sponsor from 1 July.

The deal has been mired in controversy for Everton, not least due to past comments made by the club’s chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale.

In 2020, after the club cut ties with former sponsor and troubled gambling operator SportPesa, she said that “in an ideal world,” the club would prefer to have “a different type of sponsor” to one from the betting industry.

The sponsorship agreement with Stake was secured at a time when many top-tier football teams appear to be pulling away from gambling sponsorships, with the UK gambling act currently under review.

The review appears set to impose tight restrictions on the regulated sector, with the introduction of casino stake limits, restrictions on football sponsorships and new affordability checks for customers all still on the cards.

AFC Bournemouth commercial director Rob Mitchell: “Signing this partnership with Dafabet is extremely important in providing us with crucial revenue as a football club.”

However, gambling companies with a strong presence in Asia continue to demonstrate their commitment to advertising their brands via UK clubs.

Online operator Dafabet today (27 June) confirmed a front-of-shirt sponsorship with Bournemouth AFC, who will return to the Premier League for the 2022-23 campaign.

The two-year partnership will see Dafabet featured on the front of the Bournemouth men’s team’s playing shirts, while the operator will also make a contribution to the club’s Community Sports Trust.

AFC Bournemouth commercial director Rob Mitchell said: “Signing this partnership with Dafabet is extremely important in providing us with crucial revenue as a football club.

“The revenue will enable us to help with our club objectives of being competitive in the Premier League and our commercial goals that come with promotion.

“Dafabet have a huge presence in sport having worked with a whole host of clubs in different areas and we look forward to a successful partnership with them over the next two years,” he added. 

The Athletic has this month published a long read on Everton’s new sponsorship deal with crypto-focused Stake.com.

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