Edinburgh City FC has pledged their support for Gambling with Lives’ Big Step programme, making them the first Scottish football team to do so.
The Big Step is a grassroots campaign whose main goal is to “kick gambling ads out of football.” It has the support of several MPs, including Carolyn Harris of the Labour Party, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm, and Ronnie Cowan of the Scottish National Party, who recently argued for a ban on gambling advertising during the UEFA 2020 European Championship.
Scotland to Wembley
The campaign recently completed a 10-day, 300-mile walk from Scotland to Wembley, in which 30 people who have been harmed by gambling walked from Scotland to Wembley, reiterating MP Cowan’s plea for gambling advertisements to be banned during the Euro 2020 event.
Jim Brown, chairman of Edinburgh City FC said: “We decided it was time to adopt an ethical approach to all our partnerships; the pandemic has shown just how much football has the potential to be an immense power for good, so it makes sense to us to reinforce only positive messages both for physical and mental health.
“We are delighted to support The Big Step in their campaign as we share the same core value of trying to change the existing reliance on gambling in Scottish football.”
The Scottish League Two side has become the first in Scotland to ask for a ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship in football by joining the campaign.
The Scottish Premiership and Scottish League Cup have lately been sponsored by betting companies Ladbrokes and William Hill, respectively, while Rangers and Celtic have ties with 32Red and Dafabet.
James Grimes, founder of The Big Step said: “We are thrilled to have the support of Edinburgh City during a pivotal time for gambling reform in this county.
“For most of us involved with The Big Step, the harmful relationship between gambling and football was the gateway for years of addiction – if only our clubs had taken this stance, things may have been different for us.
“Football doesn’t promote tobacco because of the health risks – It’s now time more for more clubs to replicate ECFC commendable stance on advertising gambling, which is causing harm to millions of people.”