Melbourne Victory drops shirt sponsor amid gambling links

Australian A-League football club Melbourne Victory was forced to play yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) AFC Champions League match against Korean side Daegu FC without a shirt sponsor amid question marks over its new partner’s links to gambling companies.

Victory announced a front-of-shirt sponsor agreement with Hong Kong media agency Kaishi Entertainment ahead of yesterday’s game.

However, after concerns were raised over Kaishi’s links to an online betting agency, the club opted to wear a clean strip for the match.

The Asian Football Confederation’s rules state that sponsorship deals with gambling companies are not allowed.

Victory insisted that due diligence had been undertaken prior to announcing the deal but the club said that since the announcement, “further information has come to light which raises concerns about Kaishi’s link to an online betting agency”.

Victory said in a statement: “While Kaishi has represented (and continues to represent) to the club that it is not linked in anyway with betting, given this new information, Melbourne Victory has made the decision to wear a clean strip this evening in their match against Daegu FC.

“We will then work with Kaishi to resolve any concerns we have ahead of our next AFC Champions League clash.

“It is important to note that Melbourne Victory has not and would not actively enter into an agreement with a company in the gambling industry. The club respects and adheres to AFC apparel requirements and the brand and integrity of our existing partners.”

Victory added that the AFC and Football Federation Australia would be kept informed on the matter.