FA to review Cup rights after ties shown on betting website

FA accused of double standards after Cup ties are streamed live on gambling apps

FA accused of double standards after Cup ties are streamed live on gambling apps

All matches started a minute late as part of the FA's Heads Up mental health campaign.

The agreements made by IMG on behalf of the FA had been signed in early 2017, before the soccer body confirmed in July it would sever ties with the gambling industry and not pen any new deals.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Nicky Morgan expressed her concerns regarding the association between the FA and bookmaker Bet365 via Twitter after the weekend's FA Cup fixtures.

"They are therefore happy for IMG to offer the rights to screen these games to the Football Association or another appropriate body so the games can be viewed for free by the public with immediate effect".

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Pressure from the government has intensified and the matter was discussed in parliament yesterday (Thursday).

As Casino Guardian already reported, the governing body has also revealed that it will review the sale of FA Cup matches betting rights before the agreements are renewed for the 2024/25 season.

The media rights deal with Bet365 allows soccer fans the facility to "bet-to-view". "Waiting until 2024 is not good enough - urgent action and the FA must work to scrap this harmful deal without delay".

A number of third-round encounters last weekend could only be viewed in the United Kingdom via the Bet365 app, prompting accusations of hypocrisy given the increased attention to the dangers of addictive gambling. Free streaming in the United Kingdom would also need to be geo-blocked given broadcast and betting rights deals in place internationally.

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Finding a free platform became the responsibility of the FA, with IMG understood to only be mandated to sell betting streams. "I have been very clear that the government has asked the FA to look at all avenues to review this element of their broadcasting agreement". From 2021-22 onwards, however, the issue of protecting paywall United Kingdom television coverage will be removed as rights will be shared by free-to-air duo BBC and ITV. In return for topping up an account with £5 ($6.56) or placing a bet through the sports betting operator's app, users are able to stream the match live.

In accordance with standard betting streaming legislation, restrictions are placed on the quality of the stream and screen size so as to avoid undermining the broadcast coverage being shown domestically.

The deals were done with the gambling companies in early 2017 by the marketing giant IMG, which bought the global betting rights to the competition from the FA, before the governing body chose to cancel its then official partnership with Ladbrokes and not enter into any further betting sponsorships.

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