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Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy today renewed calls for the Football Association to send a clear message about the dangers of payday lending and the damage their sponsorship of football clubs could do to fans as their General Secretary admitted there was a case for removing their adverts from children’s kits. Speaking to Rachel Burden from BBC 5 Live’s Breakfast show on Tuesday 9 October, Alex Horne gave the biggest indication yet that the Football Association is listening to the ‘Red Card for Wonga’ campaign, which is calling on the FA to extend their ban on alcohol and gambling advertising on merchandise for under-18s to include payday loan companies because of concerns about the debts they can cause.

Mr Horne was asked by 5 Live whether the FA would like to see the kind of sponsorship deal such as Wonga’s recently announced deal with Newcastle, removed:

“We’re talking to the leagues on Friday about it, but if you include it in the category of things that are inappropriate for children, like gambling and alcohol, then it seems as if it’s in that category for me.”

Speaking about payday lending sponsorship of football clubs, Mr Horne said:

“The Football Supporters Association has written to us in very clear terms saying they don’t believe it’s appropriate, we know that David Miliband has come to us directly and said it’s not appropriate. We’re talking to the leagues about it.”

The General Secretary also suggested that legislation has a role to play in dealing with the issue of payday lending:

“If these companies are doing the wrong things and charging the wrong rates of interest then legislation should help us here.”

Stella Creasy has been campaigning for regulation on the charges payday lending companies can levy for two years in parliament and has joined with other MPs to express concern about the promotion of promoting legal loan sharking in football following the sponsorship deals signed with Blackpool and Newcastle. She has called on concerned fans to join the Red Card for Wonga campaign urging clubs to refuse to work with these companies until the Government introduces a cap on the costs of credit and a real time register.

Stella said:  “Our message to Football clubs and the Football Association is clear – until this industry is properly regulated their sponsorship money is not welcome in the game and we want everyone to refuse to work with them until Britain has caps on the charges these companies can levy. Even if the Government and the club owners won’t listen, we can still take action to send a Red Card to Wonga. Its good to hear Alex Horne stating he agrees with our concerns and now we want action - we’re asking football fans to let the FA know their feelings ahead of this crucial meeting on Friday and ask them to say no to legal loan sharks in football”

This morning’s 5 Live Breakfast show, with Rachel Burden and Nicky Campbell came live from St George’s Park, the Football Association’s new centre for excellence in Staffordshire.

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Notes:

  • The Football Association is responsible for the regulation of football and currently bans alcohol and gambling advertisements on club merchandise for children. According to the FA, this ban is designed to protect the ‘welfare, health or general wellbeing’ of young people.
  • Wonga’s earnings after tax increased from £12.4m to £45.8m in 2011 – with revenues of £184.7m. Wonga provided almost 2.5 million loans last year, which was four times the number it did in 2010.
  • Last year the payday loan sector in Britain was worth £1.7bn, a fivefold increase in the last few years. Research by R3 predicts nearly 4 million people will take out a payday loan in the next six months alone. The APR for payday lenders can begin at 444% and can escalate to 16,500% or more. And home credit lenders, who make home visits in order to collect repayments for their short-term loans, can charge £82 in interest and collection charges for every £100 lent.
  • One in ten UK payday customers have incomes of less than £11,100 per year and 46% have incomes of less than £15,500 a year.
  • Research by WHICH? Showed that over 60% of people who took out payday loans were using the money to pay for household bills or buying other essentials like food, nappies and petrol.
  • Payplan, a debt charity company, says that 47% of its clients had six or more payday loans in the last year alone. More than half of the people going to Payplan for debt advice owed more than £500 to these companies, and 61% had more than one at a time. Most crucially, 86% of its clients were using the loans for basics—food, transport and the basic costs of everyday living, not luxuries.
  • The Red Card for Wonga campaign is part of Sharkstoppers- a coalition of campaigners across the UK seeking to cap the costs of credit and bring in a real time register for credit. They have been campaigning at football grounds across the country to urge football clubs to refuse to work with legal loan sharks until the industry is properly regulated.
  • Stella Creasy MP began the Sharkstoppers campaign when she was elected in 2010 and has been seeking to table legislation to cap the costs of credit. At present the Government has refused to back these measures.

For more details on the campaign to tackle legal loan sharking in the UK visit Stella Creasy MP’s websitewww.workingforwalthamstow.org.uk ; or call 020 8521 1223.



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