Norwich City has terminated their contentious shirt sponsorship deal with BK8, an obscure Asian gambling company, after only three days.

After announcing BK8 as their new primary sponsor earlier this week, Norwich City discovered that the company was using explicit images of young women in their social media campaigns, a violation of UK advertising regulations.

The Instagram account of a BK8 “ambassador” with more than a quarter of a million followers also linked directly to hardcore pornography, as revealed by The Athletic.

It led to a backlash from supporters on Twitter, more than 100 complaints sent to the club and video statements from supporters’ groups.

Having received feedback from its supporters and partners, the club announced the end of its sponsorship deal with BK8 on Thursday morning.

What has been said?

A Norwich statement read: “Norwich City can announce the mutual termination of the club’s commercial partnership with BK8.

“The club and BK8 have taken on board feedback from its supporters and partners, and after continued discussions we have agreed to immediately end the partnership.

“As a club, we’re proud of our place within the local community and our relationship with supporters around the world. We have worked tirelessly for a considerable time building relationships across a wide range of mediums and community projects.

“Whilst we anticipated some negative responses to the announcement of the partnership with a betting company, the club understands the reaction to BK8, their affiliates and other similar brands’ ways of marketing, the values of which do not align with those of the football club.

“On this occasion, we got it wrong. For that, and any offence caused, the club apologises.”

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Norwich City’s chief operating officer, Ben Kensell, said: “We have worked hard to build trust and engagement through our countless initiatives with our supporters and partners. We place huge value on our open and honest relationships with our community and supporters.

“As a self-financed club there is always a fine balance between generating the revenue levels required to help maintain that model, whilst working within our visions and values.

“On this occasion, we made an error of judgement. Our standards were not at the levels we demand of our football club.

“We can now only apologise to our supporters and former players, Grant Holt and Darren Eadie, who were across the BK8 promotional launch campaign, for any offence caused.

“We remain highly committed to diversity and equality across our football club and its community. We want to continue to embed a highly inclusive culture across the club, together with an accessible and welcoming environment free of demeaning and discriminatory behaviours.”

What did BK8 say?

A BK8 statement read: “BK8 confirms the mutual termination of our commercial partnership with Norwich City Football Club.

“Our primary mission is to provide a safe and regulated betting platform for sports fans. It is therefore essential that we listen to the voices of the fans in the communities we serve and recognise when we are wrong.

“We apologise for the social media content published by affiliates of BK8 which has caused offense, and have taken immediate steps to change the way we market the brand.

“Now that the partnership has been mutually terminated, we intend to take action to show football fans that we learn from our mistakes and improve as a brand. BK8 commits to the fans that we will inject a portion of these sponsorship funds back into relevant charities and associations.

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“This marks the first step in our journey to win back the trust of Premier League football fans, as we work hard to ensure that football sponsorship money is invested back into the fan communities which matter most.”

What happens next?

Norwich will now begin the search for a replacement sponsor. It will almost certainly not be a gambling firm, although it was BK8’s marketing content in Asia that ultimately saw Norwich pull the plug.

Norwich and BK8 reached an agreement over cancelling the deal on Wednesday at the cost of £5 million, which the club was set to earn from their new sponsor.

That now becomes an immediate hole in Norwich’s budget for the coming season and one unlikely to be eased significantly by a new partner.

Where can I find out more?

For further detail on the controversial sponsorship, Go Deeper below.

(Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images)