Aston Villa is set to proceed with a contentious sponsorship agreement with BK8, a gambling company, despite objections from fans.

In 2021, Norwich terminated a partnership with BK8 due to sexually explicit advertisements. Meanwhile, Premier League teams have committed to removing gambling companies’ logos from their shirts by 2025, following governmental influence.

Yet Villa have still entered the arrangement, which will run until 2026. Will Prochaska, a spokesperson for The Big Step campaign, part of the charity Gambling with Lives, said: ‘For Villa to promote gambling on the front of their shirts, following the Premier League’s acceptance that it harms fans, exemplifies the greed that dominates football, and shows why we need the government to step in to regulate gambling advertisements out of the game.

‘Fans, including children, should be able to watch games without being bombarded by gambling ads. To ignore all of that for a few extra pounds is not just tone deaf it’s irresponsible.’

When the details of the agreement were revealed in January, the Trust and the campaign released a joint statement calling on Villa to reconsider their position. It read: ‘Our club is not holding itself to a high enough standard, especially when it comes to the ethics of sponsorship arrangements.

‘Sexualising women to promote a gambling company and induce fans into betting is definitely not what Aston Villa Football Club is all about.

‘While the club has acknowledged supporter concerns to the potential sponsor, we have not received any explanation or clarification of the deal. We remind them of their duty to protect fans from the harms of gambling and to not bring its name or reputation into disrepute.

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‘Sadly, this incident is not the first occasion upon which the club has entered into a controversial sponsorship arrangement. It is unlikely to be the last unless the club urgently acknowledges the issues mentioned in this statement and, without delay, re-evaluates its agreement with BK8.’

BK8 have pledged to make a contribution to a charity in Birmingham for every one of Villa’s third kits sold. They also say they are co-operating with anti-sexism campaign group Her Game Too on the importance of gender equality in football.

BK8 managing director Michael Gatt said: ‘Over the next three years of this deal we will work tirelessly to make an impact in this area with a number of programmes across the region that engage with Villa supporters locally but also on a global scale.’

A Villa spokesperson said: ‘Through this partnership with BK8 we look forward to exciting collaborations together that will help to grow both brands, particularly within Southeast Asia.’