By Matthew Chadder

22nd Jun, 2023 | 10:52am

Aston Villa have announced a multi-year partnership with betting company BK8 to join as the principal and front-of-shirt sponsor.

The club announced the partnership on 22 June which will see the company join as a partner for three years with branding on all three of Villa’s kits through until the end of the 2025/26 season.

Pundit and football legend Gary Linker has taken to his official Twitter platform to voice his displeasure over the news.

Linker, 62, tweeted (22 June), “Thought clubs were no longer going to have gambling sponsors on shirts?”

While Lineker is right, the ban has not yet come into force. On April 13 The Guardian reported that Premier League clubs have agreed to ban match day front-of-shirt sponsorships with gambling companies from the summer of 2026. As a result, the Premier League has become the first UK professional sports league to agree to restrict betting sponsorships.

Last gasp

This really is a last-minute cash grab from Aston Villa.

A three-year agreement which runs until the end of the 2025/26 season means the partnership will come to a conclusion as soon as the ban is enforced.

Therefore, the club are by no means breaking any rules, however, in light of the news of an upcoming gambling ban which will only take three years to enforce due to issues over breaches of contract, some fans may be uncomfortable that the club have decided to fit in one last deal.

However, the deal will represent a significant commercial boost for the club and many fans will also likely argue that Villa should be able to secure any commercial agreement they would like to until a ban is in place.

The statement also revealed that the partnership will include a charitable incentive as BK8 will make a contribution for every adult third kit sold to a local charity in Birmingham.

In other Aston Villa news, a twist has emerged in the club’s attempts to sign an international centre-back.