Norwich have sponsors pull adult content

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June 8, 2021
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    Norwich City players celebrate winning the ChampionshipNorwich earned 97 points on the way to the 2020-21 Championship title

    Norwich City have had their new shirt sponsor remove sexually provocative posts from one of its social media accounts after a backlash from fans.

    A number of supporters criticised the club for agreeing a deal with BK8 after discovering the betting company used adult content to promote itself.

    Norwich said they "worked swiftly" with BK8 to remove the posts.

    "These posts and marketing do not align with the wider Norwich City vision and values," the club added in a statement.

    While adult content was quickly removed from at least one of BK8's Instagram accounts, supporters continued to complain that they found similar content on other social media accounts linked to the company.

    The newly promoted Premier League club – which is co-owned by celebrity chef Delia Smith – said that after being made "aware of a series of marketing posts across the social media accounts of our new principal partners" the club will be "reviewing our due diligence process going forward".

    In a statement, BK8 said "following concerns and issues raised" by the club and its fans it "would like to wholeheartedly apologise for any offence caused by our historical marketing".

    "We accept that this form of marketing isn't befitting of a Premier League partnership," the company continued.

    "We have immediately removed all marketing material of this nature and will conduct a review of our marketing strategy moving forward."

    The Asian betting firm replaced another betting company, Dafabet, as the club's main sponsor for the 2021-22 season.

    • Betting in football: Could a gambling sponsorship ban ruin clubs?

    Gambling sponsorship in football has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years.

    In the Premier League last season, eight clubs had betting firms on their shirts but 17 had betting partners, which advertise around the pitch, on training kit and on social media. In the Championship, 10 of 24 clubs have shirt sponsorships but that number also increases when partners are considered.

    The UK government is considering whether to ban gambling sponsorship in football as part of its review of the Gambling Act.

    Analysis

    Rob Butler – BBC Radio Norfolk's sport presenter

    READ:  Arsenal's Miedema wins BBC award

    This has been a PR own goal for Norwich City.

    Following the reveal of the club's new shirt sponsor BK8, fans were quick to spot social media posts by the betting company which included images of a sexual nature. This was all on the same day that City announced their star player Emi Buendia is set to leave Carrow Road.

    The Canaries have worked hard to promote themselves to be a community club which prides itself in being inclusive and diverse. They have a thriving community of supporters' clubs all over the world who firmly stand against homophobia, racism and online abuse. This won't sit well with that ethos.

    Norwich City Women are also very much part of the club's plans going forward, it will be interesting to see if they end up wearing the kit emblazoned with the name of a company who has this kind of marketing plan in place.

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