We ask what you think as Norfolk FA chief declares delight at how Bet Bright incentive is working

Clubs like William Burt, black and white, can benefit from the new scheme. Picture: Ian Burt

Clubs like William Burt, black and white, can benefit from the new scheme. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Chief executive Shaun Turner has launched a defiant defence of Norfolk FA's partnership with bookmakers Bet Bright.

The county's football authority has come in for criticism from some parties by announcing an agreement with the gambling firm. However, with the scheme offering clubs the opportunity to pocket more than £1,000 to help with their running costs, Turner insists the fundraising incentive is a great idea.

Norfolk's chief executive said: 'This situation is not forcing anyone to gamble. If somebody thinks betting is immoral then they don't have to engage with it.

'We're not forcing anybody to open an account. We're encouraging those that want to, or do bet, to do so responsibly and sensibly, while now providing them with the chance to raise funds for their club.'

For every team member that opens an account with Bet Bright and gambles £25 or more, their club receives £40. The 'customer' is then also offered a free £20 stake to use. Turner says more than £7,000 was raised towards grassroots outfits last month and hailed the scheme a success – even though it goes against the FA's guidelines which prevents players from the Premier League down to Step Four of the non-league ladder placing money on the sport.

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'The reason they're trying to stop betting in the professional game is massive money is changing hands on betting markets in the Far East,' added Turner, who praised Bet Bright for 'giving something back to the game'.

'If it ever comes down to being able to bet on games in the Norwich and District Sunday League between say Doghouse and AFC Wanderers then we're going to have to look at something. But I can't see that happening. Gambling is in your face. People, including footballers, bet. Our players probably have a betting app on their smart phone. If someone is going to bet, they're going to do it. But now they can give something back to their club.'

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All pro players down to the level that Dereham Town play at are forbidden to bet on football. They are however allowed to place wages on other sports and indulge in online gaming – so could take part in the scheme.

However, following the recent regulatory change from the FA, Norfolk's governing body decided from the outset not to promote the incentive to the three clubs this would affect – King's Lynn Town, Dereham and Wroxham.

Turner added: 'This was done for two reasons. Firstly, so we weren't seen as contravening any FA guidelines, and secondly, and equally as important, we didn't want to put player at that level of the game at risk of doing the same.'

Have Your say: What do you think of Norfolk FA's initiative with Bet Bright? Vote in our poll and/or e-mail your views to gavin.caney@archant.co.uk

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