BetVictor has opted not to extend the sponsorship of non-league football in the UK and this has opened doors to other potential sponsors in the country. The bookmaker which has been in control of the sponsorship of the non-league in the country made activation of the break clause in their contrast. The deal has been active in the Isthmian League, Northern Premier League as well as the Southern League. The leagues included all steps three and four.
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There was a league statement that was availed to different relevant clubs which stated that the bookmaker had reached the decision of terminating their sponsorship due to several laid down reasons. The biggest reason that spearheaded their termination was due to increased compliance conditions and a number of challenges the bookmaker underwent in their fast quarter of the year deal sponsorship. The bookmaker claimed that the challenges surpassed their returns and due to the demanding compliance conditions that were set and the hefty challenges they faced, they thought it was inevitable for them to continue with the sponsorship.
The statement from BetVictor added that there was continued negativity that was escalating against football betting which was not of any great help for the bookmaker provider. There was also compliance breaches that were spearheaded by most of the clubs that are within and without the Isthmian League. This statement was served to three relevant football leagues during early March which included Isthmian League, the Northern Premier League as well as the Southern League. The deal was to go through until 9th July 2020 and according to Isthmian Football league, the pandemic did not spearhead the fallout of BetVictor and the leagues.
This has, however, prompted to the search of a new sponsorship but there is the pandemic that has hit the entire world causing lockdown in all countries in the world. This means that it is a bit tricky for the leagues to reach out for a possible potential replacement for the 2020/21 league season.
The league chairman of Isthmian Nick Robinson revealed his disappointment in the termination of the sponsorship by BetVictor at such a time. He stated that it was quite cumbersome to engage any potential suitors. Although they are actively in search of a new sponsor, Nick Robinson had a swipe on the overall economic downturn as a result of the Convid-19. As it stands, the teams that operate at the 3rd and 4th steps in the league don’t have the 2020/21 season sponsorship.
Before there were total lockdowns in various countries after the outbreak, there was a greater grassroots fan attendance of the non-league football in England. Currently, the non-league paper is out as Nott’s boss calls for a promotion chance. After the immediate cancellation of the EFL and the Premier League, there was great attendance in the local side. Due to the crisis, all the leagues that are between steps 3 and 6 in the non-league were all cancelled and there was no winner nor were there any promotions and relegations too. The decision by the FA however was met with a lot of criticism from different clubs with more than 100 clubs opposing the decision.
As a result of BetVictor activating the break clause that was within the sponsorship deal, it means that the deal will officially end on 9th July 2020. There is a lot that the Isthmian, Northern and Southern Premier leagues will face before they come up with another non-league sponsor. Nonetheless, due to the pandemic, all football below the national league has ended, thus, allowing more time for a new sponsor to emerge.
It means that it will take time before the league receives a possible suitor compared to the biggest name like BetVictor. However, some clubs have welcomed the departure of BetVictor. Some of them that have welcomed the decision include Scholing FC who were initially displeased with the sponsor. The club claimed that there they didn’t benefit anything from the sponsorship held by BetVictor and that it was beyond their ethos as a club that has a youthful and community focus. A Whitehawk fan that is from Isthmian South East welcomed the breakup and wished that the league gets a new sponsorship that is not related to betting.
The league is poised to start in less than four months and it is yet to receive a sponsor and it speaks volumes about the dilemma and the current condition of lockdown in the whole world. It is indeed a short time. In previous days, the sponsorship could last for decades like the Ryman Stationery which was behind the wheels of sponsorship of Isthmian League for a period of 2 decades. Evo-Stik on the other hand sponsored Southern League for a total of seven years for two spells and the Northern Premier League for nine years consecutively.
The sponsorship BetVictor has been estimated to be in with the two leagues is said to be up to £30,000. As it stands right now, this has been a lucrative deal between the clubs and the bookmaker. It is therefore quite hard to find another sponsor that will easily outweigh this deal right now. Without such a sponsorship in the coming days means that the league is going to have some struggles especially the 2020/21 league season.
With this in mind, BetVictor has been criticized by many for not providing a good deal for clubs to benefit. Besides, the leagues were not displayed openly to the entire public like other companies do when they are sponsoring leagues.
The position of the three leagues however remains in limbo as it stands and it awaits very many things to unfold before the new sponsor comes knocking before the league can resume. What many are waiting to see is the type of company that will be sponsoring the three leagues and what kind of deal shall be laid on the table. Will the sponsoring company extended the services to all the three leagues- Southern and Northern Premier Leagues and the Isthmian League too? What stands between the possible sponsor and the leagues is the crisis which has resulted to total lockdown in the entire world. The pandemic has equally affected different teams in the above leagues directly.