The Football Association faced fury last night over the sale of FA Cup rights to a betting firm.
The six-year deal allows Bet365 to show matches on its website and mobile app. It meant most of last weekend’s 32 ties were broadcast on Bet365, while only two were on free-to-air TV.
To watch the action on Bet365’s site, fans had to place a wager before kick-off or open an account with a £5 deposit. Betting odds accompanied the live footage, tempting viewers to place a stake.
The close links between the governing body and betting firms make a mockery of the fact all the kick-offs were delayed by one symbolic minute to publicise a mental health campaign backed by Prince William, the FA’s president.
Gambling addiction has repeatedly been blamed for fuelling mental health problems.