Aston Villa has formed a partnership with BK8 – a betting company which has previously been criticised for sexually provocative adverts.

First reported by The Telegraph, this controversial sponsorship will likely see the bookmaker’s branding placed on the Premier League team’s kit.

BK8 had been ditched over ‘soft porn’ by Norwich FC after fan backlash in 2021 when the company used a compilation of sexually explicit adverts. 

The news comes in the midst of the gambling shirt debate in football, with the Government finally expecting to publish its white paper on gambling reform in February.

James Grimes, Founder of the Big Step campaign against gambling sponsorship, told The Telegraph: “This is a tone-deaf partnership in the face of inevitable government action on gambling ads and against a backdrop of mounting fan pressure – which caused the same online casino to be booted out of a club as recently as 2021.

“It is increasingly clear that desperate clubs can not be trusted on this issue – they continue to partner with gambling companies while lives are at stake. The Government must now take responsibility for this farcical situation and end gambling sponsorship in football in the imminent white paper.”

BK8 has also previously inked deals with Crystal Palace, Burnley and Huddersfield. Both Aston Villa and BK8 are yet to comment on the backlash.

However, this week, a spokesperson for Cazoo – Villa’s main sponsor – confirmed that its partnership with the club is ending. 

“The Cazoo sponsorship of Aston Villa Football Club was for three years and expires at the end of the current 2022/23 season,” the spokesman revealed. 

“It has been a very strong and successful partnership for both parties and we are proud to have supported the club and raised over £120,000 for the Aston Villa Foundation during this time.”

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