Norwich City drop shirt sponsor after fans' backlash
NORWICH, England (AP) — English Premier League club Norwich ended its new shirt sponsorship deal with a gambling operator on Thursday after a fans' backlash at the firm using sexual images of young women in social media marketing.
The deal with Asian gambling firm BK8 was announced on Monday and terminated within three days.
"On this occasion, we got it wrong," Norwich said in a statement. "For that, and any offence caused, the club apologizes."
The deal was the third straight gambling operator to feature on the shirts at Norwich, which won the second-tier Championship to regain its Premier League place at the first attempt.
Norwich said it "anticipated some negative responses to the announcement of the partnership with a betting company" but that BK8's marketing values "do not align with those of the football club."
The club has been widely praised for engaging with fans while majority owned for 25 years by television chef Delia Smith. She is a rarity among Premier League owners in being a longtime fan who lives in the local community.
However, Norwich staff appeared not to have done due diligence on BK8's sexualized posts on Instagram, which fans raised concerns about within an hour of the sponsorship being announced.
"As a self-financed club there is always a fine balance between generating the revenue levels required to help maintain that model, whilst working within our visions and values," said the club's chief operating officer, Ben Kensell.
"On this occasion, we made an error of judgement. We want to continue to embed a highly inclusive culture across the club, together with an accessible and welcoming environment free of demeaning and discriminatory behaviors."
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