20th of August 2009 Author: Natalie Stephanopoulos
Victor Chandler's recent sports sponsorship deal has logo problems
The Nottingham Evening Pose newspaper reports that football club Nottingham Forest is having to remove the logo of recently signed sponsor Victor Chandler from children's replica shirts to avoid breaching advertising guidelines.
The club's new kit was launched last week with the name of the online gambling firm emblazoned on the front.
Now, adult customers wanting a replica red shirt will be able to choose whether they want the company logo on when it goes on sale on August 7. But anyone under 18 will not be allowed to buy a shirt bearing Victor Chandler's company symbol.
Forest officials took the decision to stay within the guidelines of the Gambling Commission's industry code for socially responsible advertising, the newspaper reports. The code, whilst not legally binding, is designed to stop vulnerable people being attracted to gambling.
Brandon Furse, Nottingham Forest club operations manager, said the club wanted to maintain its close identity with what he called "a family ethos," and said he had spoken in detail with the commission about shirt sponsorship plans.
"Legally, we might be able to do it but that is not the way we operate," said Furse. "All shirts are on sale without the logo on. The club will apply the logo free of charge to adults who request it.
"If adults ask for their child's shirt to carry the logo, the club will decline on the basis of the gambling commission's guidelines and our moral obligation."
The British Football Association wrote to the country's top clubs in June reminding them of the terms of the code, introduced in 2007.
The guidelines state: "The advertising of adult-only gambling products or product suppliers should never be targeted at children. A clear example of this would be the use of logos on children's sports' shirts, which would not be permitted under the terms of this code."
The Nottingham Evening Post offer another football club - the Wolves - as a similar example, reporting that it offers adults and children the choice of having the logo of sponsor SportingBet.com or charity Wolves Community Trust on replica shirts.
Forest agreed a one-year shirt sponsorship deal with betting giant Victor Chandler last month. The amount was undisclosed but is understood to be in six-figure territory.
A Victor Chandler spokesman said the firm agreed with the reasoning behind the guidelines. "We understand that some youngsters will be unhappy with not having the exact shirt that their heroes wear on the pitch, but that is out of our control," he said. "With regard to the adult shirts, the logo issue is due to the late timing of our sponsorship.
"Although it is not ideal from a business perspective that the shirts do not have the Victor Chandler brand on it, as football fans ourselves we understand that some supporters want a shirt without the sponsor's logo. "We think the circumstances have produced a situation that gives options for everyone."
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