Unlicensed 777ball Told to Suspend Football Sponsorship

18th September 2009 8:11 am GMT

Days after signing a one-year shirt sponsorship agreement with 777ball.com, Football League Championship side Cardiff City FC has been forced to remove its sponsor's logo from shirts, after the Gambling Commission warned that the Asian online gaming operator had not obtained a UK operating licence which would enable it to advertise in the country.

The Commission informed Cardiff City that 777ball was unable to advertise its services since it did not currently hold a UK gaming licence and told the football club to remove the sponsor's logo ahead of a Championship game at Reading on Wednesday night.

777ball.com is operated by True Partner Group Limited, an Asian-based gambling operator licensed and regulated by First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation.

The Philippines is one of several jurisdictions that are not part of the UK 'white list', a list of jurisdictions from where operators are able to advertise into the UK and other European countries.

Cardiff City said that the Commission would meet with representatives of 777ball next week.

The club will have to play for the time being without sponsor's branding, until 777ball obtains a UK operating licence from the Gambling Commission, not necessarily a given since the Commission takes a number of factors into consideration when processing an application (more information on applying for a UK licence).

The football club said that it went ahead with the sponsorship (more) in "good faith" after discussions with the Football League.

Questions however must be asked as to why club officials were so eager to complete a one-year deal with an unlicensed gaming operator, or indeed why 777ball did not consider that it would need a UK licence to be able to advertise in the UK.

777ball said that it is "determined to act correctly over the sponsorship, and will be applying for the appropriate licence".

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