The Polish Football Federation has been forced to suspend its sponsorship agreement with Swedish online sports-betting company Unibet, in order to fall into line with the Eastern European country's new and draconian online gambling laws, which came into effect on January 1st 2010.
Reporting on the move, Betfair's initiative for free movement of goods and services in the EU, Right2Bet, says that Unibet, which was the official sponsor of the Polish second division, can no longer have its branding placed in stadiums and on TV. The partnership has therefore been suspended and the much needed money which was supposed to go to struggling Polish league clubs has been withdrawn.
Poles have banned all forms of gambling outside of the land-based casinos, and advertising of gambling companies has also been blocked.
"The development will come as a hammer blow to the league, its clubs and their supporters, who are now being robbed of the chance to earn the type of money needed if Polish football is to progress and regain a sure footing in the global game," the Right2Bet blog laments.
"Polish football, in terms of infrastructure and quality is in the pits, and the ridiculously restrictive legislation now in place is having a major impact on everyone connected with the sport.
"Amazingly, this new legislation only came about as a result of the government trying to pass the buck, after members of the Cabinet were charged with corruption. The disgraced politicians were found to be opposing higher taxes on gambling institutions based on their ties with them, and rather than blame the individuals responsible, the government looked to appease the public by blaming gambling itself, and the new bill was proposed and passed at breakneck speed."
The European Commission has already voiced its displeasure with certain aspects of the new bill and has asked Poland for an explanation.
Source: InfoPowa News