The governing body of English football, the Football Association (FA), has announced that it will be re-examining its strategy around the sale of streaming rights for the FA Cup.
The FA made its statement in response to a report in the UK media that highlighted the possibility that betting company Bet365 would offer live streaming of FA Cup broadcasts. This appeared to be in contradiction of the FA’s policy, underlined back in 2017, of distancing the organisation and its tournaments from the gambling industry. The report also included criticism from anti-gambling groups, the National Health Service and politicians.
IMG Arena, which is the sports betting department of the IMG organisation, has a six-year agreement with the FA, which runs out at the end of the 2023-24 season. Under this agreement, IMG can sell streaming rights to betting companies around the world.
In a statement, the FA acknowledged that the existing deal makes it possible for bookmakers such as Bet365 to broadcast FA Cup streaming footage, but said that they will re-examine their approach to the issue of bookmaker streaming in the next cycle of rights sales:
“We will review this element of the media rights sales process ahead of tendering rights to the new cycle from the 2024-25 season onwards. Leagues and clubs continue to govern their own relationships with gambling companies.”
Last weekend, Bet365 offered streaming footage from several FA Cup Third Round games, although the footage was only open to those who had a minimum of £5 in their Bet365 account.
The FA also pointed out that the deal with IMG was made before the announcement in 2017 that they would no longer be partnering with betting company Ladbrokes. That decision came after several high-profile examples of players being involved in breaches of the betting rules.