Premier League club AFC Bournemouth has ended its front-of-shirt sponsorship with M88.
The Athletic reported over the weekend that the Asia-facing brand of MansionBet is, along with Mansion Europe, being looked at by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Bournemouth, who currently occupy the Premier League’s final relegation spot, will play the rest of this season without a sponsor on any of their playing or training kits – if no sponsor is found.
The club confirmed the news themselves in an official statement published on their website.
Unclear what MansionBet are being investigated for
According to the Athletic’s article, the UKGC is “currently looking at various aspects of M88 and Mansion Europe model and operations”.
RIght now, it’s not fully clear why Bournemouth’s shirt sponsor has gained the commission’s attention. But it could have something to do with the operator’s VIP schemes. In April, media outlets in the UK revealed that MansionBet’s Mansion Europe brand was being looked at for this.
MansionBet’s M88 entity recently left both the Malaysian and Cambodian markets, for both of which a reason wasn’t specified.
Bournemouth drawing up new shirt sponsorship possibilities
In its statement (published on Friday), the club had the following to say.
“AFC Bournemouth can confirm that its partnership with M88 will end on Sunday (31st May).
“The online gaming company has featured on the front of the club’s home, away and third shirts, and training wear, since the start of the 2017/18 season.
“The club will therefore complete the 2019/20 campaign in new training wear and playing kits.
“AFC Bournemouth would like to thank M88 for its support over the past three years.”
Despite the front-of-shirt sponsorship with M88 ending, the mansion.com logo will remain on the sleeves of shirts.
According to the Daily Mail, Bournemouth is considering the addition of a ‘thank you’ message to the NHS for the final nine games of this campaign. This would be a token of gratitude to the nurses and other staff who have worked tirelessly throughout COVID-19.
The newspaper also mentions that the economic impact of the virus could make finding a new partnership difficult. Also potentially playing a decisive factor is the fact that they’re currently third-bottom in the table.
However, in their bid to stay in the top flight, they face heavyweight ties against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. Moreover, every remaining game will be shown on TV. Thus, a new sponsor would have a lot of eyes drawn towards them.
Before any change in shirt sponsorship can be implemented fully, approval from the Premier League must be sought.