Kelly Smith, the former England women’s, Team GB Olympic and Arsenal Ladies striker, has teamed up with Asia-facing sports betting operator BK8.

As a result of the agreement, Smith has become the company’s first female brand ambassador, whilst the partnership will also have a social responsibility element.

Under the terms of the deal, the brand will donate money to the former forward’s charity ‘We Mind Kelly Matters’, a mental health awareness and suicide prevnetion organiastion.

Smith commented: “I am excited to be joining forces with BK8. After long discussions with them about their brand values and ambitions, I was really impressed by how they wanted to help focus on the women’s game now and in the future. 

“To then make a substantial donation to a charity that is close to my heart, blew me away. If I can help them reach their goals by bringing my advice and expertise, I believe it can only be a really successful partnership.”

The partnership represents a strengthening of BK8’s sports sponsorship portfolio following the collapse of its previous agreement with Premier League club Norwich City FC.

Following fan complaints regarding the operator’s social media marketing, which was criticised for being ‘sexually provocative’, Norwich City made the decision to terminate the agreement, describing it as an ‘error of judgement’.

Despite this, BK8 secured agreements with Athletic Bilbao, Elche CF, RCD Mallorca, Valencia CF and Villarreal CF, becoming the official Asian betting partner of the five LaLiga teams.

This also enabled the clubs involved to offset Spain’s ban on sports sponsorship arrangements with betting companies, due to regionally focusing on Asia rather than in the home market.

“We are delighted to be working with Kelly and thoroughly excited about how we can work together over the next year,” said Michael Gat, BK8’s European Managing Director.

“As a brand we have reflected heavily over the last few months and have taken stock of our core values and this partnership represents a new direction for BK8, one which we are committed to long term.”

“The collaboration with Kelly is reflective of these new values we have as a brand and it demonstrates our commitment to them. Having already secured partnerships with a number of La Liga clubs in the past month, we now want to make a difference across not just elite football but across both the women’s game and grassroots game in the UK and elsewhere.”

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