Former Everton striker and current BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has been leading the charge against betting companies and their influence in football recently.

The former England international referenced the recent 10-week ban handed to Kieran Trippier for gambling offences after his beloved Leicester City sent out a tweet encouraging fans to bet on their clash with Chelsea using an official partner.

Lineker was not done there. He took aim at Arsenal yesterday, as the Gunners Twitter account did the same regarding their FA Cup clash with Southampton. 

Now Lineker himself is partial to a wager. That much was made evident by his presentation of Match of the Day in his underwear after Leicester won the Premier League title in 2015-16.

But when it comes to potentially financially crippling betting issues and gambling problems, Lineker clearly feels that clubs are not doing enough.

Which is where Everton can give themselves something of a pat on the back.

The Toffees tore up a multi-million pound contract with betting firm SportPesa last year. At the time, club CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale admitted a desire to move away from the gambling crutch.

“In an ideal world moving forward we would look to have a different type of sponsor on the front of our shirts like all football clubs would, but that is a commercial decision that we make as a football club.

“We can’t stop people taking a choice but certainly don’t want to be responsible for driving irresponsible betting.”

The Everton Club Badge with Sponsors Umbro and SportPesa
Photo by Visionhaus

They, along with Aston Villa, did just that, aligning with second-hand car sales company Cazoo. There is clearly an unhealthy relationship between football and glambling and whilst everyone has the liberty to make their own decisions, removing the prevalence of gambling adverts would be a huge benefit to those with a genuine gambling addiction and could hopefully go a long way toward reducing the worrying trend of football fans who find themselves in serious trouble regarding gambling debt.

As for clubs, Everton (and Villa) are a perfect example to follow. As reported by OffThePitch, Everton have enjoyed a 60 per cent uptake in shirt sales since the sponsorship change. So not only would dropping the betting firms be a socially responsible decision from clubs, it would potentially improve their sales.

So teams in the Premier League should start looking at Everton as an example to follow and move away from the problematic reliance on betting companies that has had Lineker so irked this week.

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