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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Football and gambling

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Views can differ about the harshness of the punishment on Joey Barton for breaking betting rules for players which effectively sent him into early retirement.   However, a bigger issue is the whole relationship between football and the betting industry.

Half of Premier League clubs have gambling firms as shirt sponsors and most of them have gambling partners.

The 'Ugly Game' blog has launched a trenchant attack on this relationship, arguing that gambling firms are 'parasitc on the game and its fans' and 'a threat to [its] integrity.'

Of course, many fans enjoy a flutter and, although there are problems of gambling addiction, how these should be responded to is also a matter for debate.