Glasgow City has become the first exclusively women’s side to support The Big Step’s campaign to end all gambling advertising and sponsorship in football.
City, the fourteen in a row Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 (SWPL1) champions, join Partick Thistle, Tranmere Rovers, Luton Town, Forest Green Rovers, Edinburgh City, Dulwich Hamlet, Drogheda United and many others in calling for changes to football’s unhealthy relationship with gambling.
Laura Montgomery, CEO of Glasgow City, said:
“Glasgow City is fully behind charity Gambling with Lives Big Step campaign to drive gambling advertising and sponsorship out of football.
“As a club, we are completely against any form of gambling advertising at our own games and we ask the rest of football to join ourselves and those clubs already committed to removing the betting industry from their matches to do the same.
“Football is such an incredible force for good and we must do all we can to influence positively on the lives of our supporters. The effects of gambling are well known and can have catastrophic effects on finance and mental health not just for the person suffering addiction but for affected others too.”
Glasgow City is the highest-ranking side to back the Big Step’s campaign, being SWPL 1 champions fifteen times and also having made it to the last eight of the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2019/20.
The SWPL has a firm, long-standing stance against taking sponsorship money from gambling companies. From the beginning of the 2022/23 season, administration of the SWPL will be taken over by the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).
The Big Step is a campaign led by people harmed by gambling and part of the charity Gambling with Lives. Gambling adverts are widespread across all levels of football in the UK, often acting as the hook that draws first-time gamblers in, with millions going on to experience harm.
Ronnie Cowan MP, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm and MP for Inverclyde, said:
“The game of football is bigger than gambling and those that administer football must safeguard it for future generations. By enabling the close relationship with the gambling industry, they have tarnished the beautiful game.
“By allowing advertising on shirts, at pitch side and within the grounds they have reduced football stadiums, once the focus for sporting entertainment, to no more than gambling emporiums. We need to take back our game and make playing and watching football the priority.”
Glasgow City’s announcement comes after The Big Step’s latest campaign in February, which saw over 40 people harmed by gambling walk from Edinburgh to Glasgow over three days. Along the way, they called at nine football grounds and met with decision-makers, MSPs and fan groups. Glasgow City is the second club to back The Big Step’s campaign following their February event, after Partick Thistle declared their support last month.
There are between 340,000 and 1.4 million adults addicted to gambling in the UK, as well as 55,000 children . Gambling addiction has the highest suicide rate of any addiction, with those addicted up to 15 times more likely to end their lives than members of the general population . Tragically, there are up to 650 gambling-related suicides every year in the UK .
James Grimes, who founded The Big Step after being addicted to gambling for 12 years said:
”Glasgow City is a fantastic club and that is setting a great example for others to follow.
“There is no justification to use football to promote gambling in front of young people and this announcement is timely, with the UK government reviewing our gambling laws.
“To have a 15-time league champion and former UEFA Champions League quarter-finalist back our campaign shows how high up the agenda this issue is within football.”