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The West Indies have taken advantage as the International Cricket Council lifts a ban that has been in place for 18 years on sponsors related to betting on cricket gear.
Cricket Sport

The West Indies have taken advantage as the International Cricket Council lifts a ban that has been in place for 18 years on sponsors related to betting on cricket gear.

The West Indies have become the first team to take advantage of the new opportunity for betting companies to sponsor jerseys in international cricket. In the first Test against Australia, they sported a Philippines gambling brand on their shoulders.

The rise of gambling advertising on sports jerseys is due to a recent revision of rules by the International Cricket Council. This change lifted a previous ban put in place after the betting scandals of the 1990s.

The ICC has enforced the same regulations for equipment and attire this season, resulting in Australian batsman Usman Khawaja being unable to showcase messages advocating for human rights on his shoes and bat.

In May 2023, regulations were loosened to allow individual countries to decide whether or not to allow shirt sponsorships. The international governing body stated that this change does not compromise the integrity of the sport.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) stated that they take necessary actions to prevent corruption in the sport. All international matches have anti-corruption officials present. The ICC also clarified that betting companies do not have any involvement in organizing matches or closely communicating with game officials.

Between 2005 and mid-2020, the ICC’s rules on clothing and equipment included a goal of preventing advertising related to betting or gaming. However, the recently updated regulations no longer include this objective.

The prevalence of gambling sponsorships has increased significantly in the past few years, with Cricket Australia and Bet365 having a longstanding partnership. However, some individuals view the presence of betting logos on jerseys, which are often worn by young fans, as excessive. In the world of English football, Premier League teams have decided to terminate their shirt sponsorship agreements with betting companies starting in the 2026-2027 season.

Last year, a report by an Australian parliamentary committee led by Peta Murphy suggested prohibiting all betting logos on player uniforms. Certain cricket players have expressed opposition to sponsorship from betting companies on their shirts, such as when Pakistan’s wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan covered up a logo on his team shirt during the Pakistan Super League. The ICC has ruled that betting brands can be displayed on shirts during bilateral series, but they are still prohibited during World Cup events.

The ICC stated that the chief executives committee made a decision last year. They observed that certain members had formed partnerships with betting companies for sponsorship and believed that members should be able to decide for themselves if they want to use betting logos in bilateral and domestic cricket.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) implemented a ban on betting companies being advertised on uniforms due to numerous betting scandals that had occurred in the 1990s and 2000s. One such scandal involved former South Africa cricket captain Hansie Cronje confessing to match-fixing during a one-day series against India in 2000, resulting in a lifetime ban. In 2000, ICC president Malcolm Gray expressed regret for not taking action earlier and with more urgency.

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Paul Condon, a former head of the Metropolitan police, was chosen as the director of the ICC’s inquiry into corruption. His findings led to significant changes in the sport of cricket, such as the ban on betting logos.

After the regulations were eased in the previous year, the West Indies cricket team started sporting jerseys with logos of betting firms Betbricks and Dafabet. However, even before this change, several international teams had already partnered with controversial online gambling platforms. India wore jerseys with MPL branding for three years starting from 2020, and last year, Dream11 became their primary shirt sponsor, despite being prohibited in certain Indian states.

Before playing against India in 2022, Ireland entered into a temporary agreement with Exchange22, a company based in India that is known for its “innovative gaming fantasy platform”. This decision was made after consulting with the ICC. However, Ireland’s cricket organization has since implemented an internal policy that prohibits such sponsors.

Source: theguardian.com