‘Gambling adverts at games remind my son of his father’s death’

Gambling adverts around the pitch remind my son of ‘the thing that killed his dad’

Leicester City have been urged to end their relationship with multiple betting firms by a mother who says her husband took his own life because of a gambling addiction.

The Foxes have more betting partnerships than any other professional team in English football, with ties to five of the 31 gambling sponsors in the Premier League.

But Annie Ashton, whose husband Luke was a huge Leicester fan, says she cannot take her 11-year-old son to games because gambling advertising around the pitch is “a reminder of the thing that killed his dad”.

She told BBC Sport: “Luke loved going to football with his son, so I promised I’d take him to football games to continue the tradition.

“But while there, we would just see gambling adverts flashing around the pitch. It made my son feel uncomfortable. He sinks right into his seat.

“He asked me why the adverts are there and I couldn’t give him an answer.

“For him, it’s a reminder of the thing that killed his dad. For an 11-year-old it’s a challenging thing to get your head around and when I can’t give him the answers, we walk out of there not knowing.”

Annie has written a letter to the 2016 Premier League champions asking them to change their policy so she can take her son back to watch games at the King Power Stadium.

She said she was “really shocked” to learn the club had five betting partners and says she fears for other children who might also be discouraged from going because of the adverts on match days.

In response to the letter, Leicester said it would invite her to meet club representatives to discuss the issues raised.

Luke used to take his 11-year-old son to Leicester City matches

Leicester do not have a gambling sponsor on their shirt, but adverts appear for five companies on illuminated advertising boards around the pitch, on the first-team’s training clothing and in the club programme and on its website.

Norwich City are the only Premier League club who do not have a betting partner. Tottenham, Wolves and Newcastle have three, Everton and Burnley have two and the remaining 13 teams have one gambling sponsor each.

A Leicester spokesperson…

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