Former England captain Wayne Rooney will join Championship club Derby County as a player-coach in January from MLS side DC United. The transfer is under public scrutiny in the UK because of the online casino 32Red involvement.
To make this transfer possible, The Rams have secured “a record-breaking sponsorship” deal with their shirt sponsor from the gambling world. Derby is now one of 16 clubs in England’s second division whose primary sponsor is a betting firm, 15 of which are displayed on the front of their shirts.
However, according to experts, a “loophole” in the regulations protecting children from being targeted by betting firms has been exploited. Although 32Red will not appear on any replica children’s shirts, as prohibited by regulations, they can have Rooney’s name and number 32 printed on the back of their kit.
“It’s obvious what it is there for, isn’t it? It won’t say 32Red, it will just be 32, but it clearly is meant to be a link to 32Red and people will start to associate the number 32 with gambling and gambling on 32Red,” explained professor Jim Orford, a psychologist from Birmingham University who studies gambling.
“A lot of children won’t understand it to start with but advertising is like that. A lot of people will understand it, while for others it will just be in the back of their minds and be subliminal,” added Orford.
The betting company responded that their agreement “complies with FA regulations” and “it wouldn’t matter what number” Rooney plays in at Derby.
“As Wayne Rooney said himself during his press conference, the squad number means nothing. The number is a separate issue to the logo,” the 32Red spokesperson added.
In somehow related news, Brittish tabloids also reported that Rooney’s wife, Coleen, is reportedly furious that her husband will have his wages paid by a betting firm after he admitted having gambling problems in the past.
Wayne has previously burned an alleged £1million in just one night at a Manchester casino, and Coleen is thought to be unhappy that 32Red will be paying his £90,000-a-week wages.Follow us on