Chelsea FC’s touted front-of-shirt sponsorship deal with online casino Stake.com is reportedly off following public scrutiny from the club’s supporter’s trust.
The Premier League club were apparently close to agreeing a one-year agreement that would have branded the Stake logo on the team’s shirts for the upcoming 2023-24 season.
Whilst no statement or reasoning by the club has been forthcoming, Chelsea received backlash from the Chelsea Supporters Trust once the initial reports of the potential deal surfaced, believing any deal with Stake would make a ‘mockery’ of the Trust’s work on problem gambling awareness.
The statement read: “The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust does not believe that it is in the best interests of our members for Chelsea Football Club to associate with an online casino and betting company as the primary shirt sponsor.”
Chelsea fans also believed that a sponsorship deal with Stake would not have outweighed the reputational damage to the club it may have caused.
This now means that Chelsea’s search for a front-of-shirt sponsor continues following the end of a three-year £40m deal with mobile phone network Three ended this summer.
Despite this, the five-time Premier League winners were on the verge of agreeing a shirt sponsorship deal with streaming platform Paramount+. However, the league ultimately blocked the deal as it conflicted with its TV rights holders in the US.
The London club was also in talks with Allianz to become the club’s new kit sponsor but Chelsea rejected the offer.
The latest frontrunner to become the club’s new shirt sponsor was Oman Air upon the news of the Stake deal falling through, but it is understood that the airline company will not be the kit sponsor, although it does have some form of partnership agreement with Chelsea.
Chelsea now enter unchartered waters with no current front-of-shirt sponsorship deal agreed to brand the club’s kits, with the start of the Premier League kicking off just over a month away.
In the view of SBC Sponsorship Director George Harborne, Chelsea’s current sponsorship situation is “unheard of” for one of England’s biggest clubs.
He stated: “The pretty short changeover of both Commercial Director and Chief Executive at the club in the last 12 months is sure to have impacted their sales process.
“It is unheard of that a top-six side would still be in the market for their main partner only weeks away from the new season kicking off, dramatically reducing the strength of the negotiating position that the club has – so a short-term deal could be their only solution.”