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UK News

Bishop warns FA over 'gamblification' of national sport

by Marcus Jones

An Anglican bishop has hit out at a decision to allow a betting firm to broadcast FA cup football matches online.

Bet365, which allows football fans to watch play if they place a bet via their app, has been showing matches since the start of last season.

They recently showed the third round of the FA Cup which included the game between Liverpool and Everton.

Dr Alan Smith of St Albans said the move was an extraordinary gamblification of our national sport.

He's concerned it'll lead to more problem gambling.

Criticism has also come from Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan who's urged the Football Association (FA) to "reconsider".

The FA says it will review the arrangements but stressed the TV rights were sold by a third party.

Outlining his objections, Bishop Alan said: "This plan puts gambling at the very core of broadcast football and may be unilaterally breaking gambling firms' ad ban - made only last year.

"It's extraordinary that football bosses are allowing bookies to carry out this wholesale 'gamblification' of our national sport. Football bosses will have to explain themselves, not least to parents and young people.

"Advertising and promoting gambling is widely understood to be linked with levels of gambling-related harm which are damaging public health at unprecedented levels. Promoting this harm must not be the fate for the national, beautiful game.

"Yet it is only through paper-thin regulation that this happened. The regulators have said they would stand against this direction of travel, so they too must provide an explanation."

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