Authorities’s gambling sponsorship overview may hit rugby league

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RUGBY league bosses will have their say in a Government review into sponsorship by betting companies that threatens to hit the game’s finances.

Clubs could be forced to remove gambling logos from players’ shirts as part of a major shake-up of sports advertising being considered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Super League is sponsored to the tune of over £1million a year by Betfred, which also backs the Championship, League One and the Women’s Super League, while Coral was the Challenge Cup backer until its contract expired at the end of 2020.

Football would also be badly affected and it would be a blow for snooker, darts and boxing but this is familiar territory for rugby league, which in the past had to come to terms with the ban on tobacco and alcohol advertising for which it once was so heavily dependent.

The current Super League deal with Betfred, which was renewed in 2019, expires at the end of the 2021 season and a spokesman said: “Over the coming months, discussions about sponsorship into 2022 will continue both internally and externally.

“Betfred have been and continue to be an excellent partner to Super League.”

The spokesman confirmed Super League will contribute to the review and a statement from the RFL said: “The review is taking evidence until the end of March.

“The RFL and our valued partners will be making submissions to the review.”

The RFL is expected to announce new sponsors for the Challenge Cup this week.