BetVictor pull sponsorship of Isthmian and Southern League

Georgeios Aresti of Haringey and Matt Johnson of Hornchurch during Hornchurch vs Haringey Borough, B

Georgeios Aresti of Haringey and Matt Johnson of Hornchurch during Hornchurch vs Haringey Borough, BetVictor League Premier Division. Picture: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

The Isthmian League and Southern League face finding a new sponsor for next season after BetVictor announced an end to the current sponsorship deal.

BetVictor took the decision in March to activate a break clause in the contract, with sponsorship set to end on July 9 this year.

In a statement from the Isthmian League, it is stressed that the decision was not influenced by the coronavirus pandemic.

A letter was sent to all clubs explaining the reasons for the decision, which said: “BetVictor have terminated the sponsorship for a number of reasons but mainly due to the fact that the increasing compliance restrictions and challenges faced in their first seven months outweighed the benefits they were drawing from the sponsorship.

“However, the escalating negativity towards betting in football did not help, nor did - most disappointingly - compliance breaches by clubs in and outside of the Isthmian League.

“Although the search for a new sponsor has began, the Covid-19 crisis makes it very difficult to engage meaningfully with potential replacements.

“So, as of now, the leagues operating at step three and four have no main sponsor for season 2020/21.”

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It comes as a blow to the leagues, with the non-league already taking a big financial hit because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

All leagues at steps three to six of the non-league pyramid have officially been declared null and void and all results expunged, meaning there was no promotion and relegation taking place.

This sparked a backlash among many clubs, with over 100 clubs writing a letter to the FA urging them to reconsider the decision.

Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson added: “We are very disappointed that this decision was made as it means that we are not able to develop the relationship with the sponsor.

“We are actively looking for a new sponsor, but are apprehensive at this time due to the general economic downturn due to Covid-19.

“We believe we have a good and marketable product which has attracted sponsors for nearly 40 years and we hope will continue to do so once we are able to restart the league.”