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Southampton will have gambling company on the front of their shirts next season

Southampton will become the latest Premier League club with a gambling company on the front of their shirt after being forced into changing the main sponsor on the eve of the season.

Southampton made the switch, and will now display Sportsbet.oi’s logo, following growing concerns about previous sponsor LD Sports and their ability to fulfil the terms of the £7.5million-a-season, three year deal that began last summer.

Southampton sought reassurances from the Chinese firm after becoming aware of doubts they would be able to continue the deal, partly influenced by the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

But with no guarantees forthcoming Southampton were ‘left with no alternative’ other than to terminate their LD Sports partnership with immediate effect with stepping in ‘at short notice.’

The deal announced on Monday is just for the forthcoming season when, currently, seven top-flight clubs will have betting firms as their chief sponsor.

There were 10 last season but Everton and Aston Villa have changed sponsors to online used car platform Cazoo while Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich were all relegated.

Promoted Leeds will be backed by a betting firm while Fulham, whose deal with Dafabet has expired, are in negotiations over their next shirt sponsor.

Southampton’s move will see them take a small financial hit.

With the circumstances, particularly time and the shortage of companies able to fund a shirt sponsorship deal in the current climate, there was little surprise they were unable to secure an agreement that matched their previous one.

However the deal is understood to be worth more than the £6m-a-year Southampton received from LD Sports’s predecessors Virgin Media.

Bringing in some funds was understandably considered better than receiving none at all, a threat Southampton were seriously concerned about had they stuck with LD Sports.

Due to the change, Southampton have suspended the sale of their new kits and hope to have a solution for those who have already bought the new strips with the old logos in ‘five or 10 days’ time.’

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