This week further calls were made for Derby County and Wayne Rooney to reconsider their sponsorship deal with gambling firm 32Red.
The deal, worth 7.8m, would require Rooney to promote the online casino, including appearing on social media posts for the brand and wearing the 32Red company logo on his football shirt.
Sports Minister Nigel Adams criticised the deal. Speaking at a Commonwealth Games event on Monday, he commented on the partnership:
“The 32 shirt is a very crafty move by Derby.
‘I would ask Derby County to look within themselves and think about the impact that problem gambling can have on some in society, particularly vulnerable people and youngsters.
‘They have got a social responsibility to be mature and grown up. So I understand the concern. Football needs to be mindful of the problem gambling has.
‘They have their guidelines, so I would urge the clubs to abide by not just the rules but the spirit of what the Gambling Commission and the FA have laid down.
‘If clubs break the rules then they shouldn’t be surprised if there ends up being further action. Clubs need to be very conscious of that link with gambling. It did raise an eyebrow when I saw the 32 number on Wayne Rooney’s shirt.’
‘Hopefully, Derby County will be mindful and will be talking to the FA because we have to make sure we look after those who are vulnerable.’
The Minister did not comment on calls from campaigners and healthcare professionals for gambling sponsorship to be banned from sport altogether.
Other pleas for Rooney to reconsider were made by the parents of a 24-year-old man who took his own life as a result of his addiction to gambling.
Charles and Liz Ritchie set up the charity Gambling with Lives following their son’s death in 2017. Gambling addicts are 15 times more likely to die from suicide than the general population, the couple say. They cite young football fans as amongst those who are most at risk.
Charles Richie said,‘We were very disappointed to read about Wayne Rooney's deal with Derby County and 32Red. It does seem particularly crass and unthinking by all parties involved given Rooney's acknowledged serious problems with gambling'.
'Wayne Rooney should think whether he wants to contribute to this unfolding disaster'.