Wayne Rooney and Derby County Under Fire for “Crass” 32Red Promotion

Wayne Rooney’s move to Derby County has angered retired MP Richard Caborn after it was revealed his shirt number will promote 32Red.

Wayne Rooney Derby County

Wayne Rooney’s move to Derby County has drawn criticism for its links to 32Red. (Image: Derby County Football Club)

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Caborn said the decision to give Rooney the number 32 shirt was “crass.”

The Labour politician had been instrumental in putting together the 2005 Gambling Act but feels the industry has taken some wrong turns in recent years.

Industry Support Hit Out at 32Red Stunt

During his tenure Minister of Sport, Caborn was in favour of reforming the gambling. Seeing it as an opportunity to generate much-needed investment, he lent his support to the 2005 Act.

However, despite his liberal views on the industry, Derby County’s stunt has left a sour taste. The issue for Caborn is the link between the club and online gaming operator 32Red.

By signing Rooney and assigning him the number 32 shirt, both parties are looking to leverage the player’s profile.

Obviously, the commercial opportunities this creates are widespread and significant,” Derby owner Mel Morris told The Daily Telegraph.

While the promotional links are obvious and, in part, expected, Caborn isn’t a fan. In branding the move “not very clever,” he pointed to the potential backlash all involved could receive.

The gambling companies need to be doing themselves favours at the moment, but this is not going to go down well with football authorities or the Government,” he told the national newspaper.

At this stage, the Football League hasn’t commented on the issue. However, if past form is anything to go by, Derby County may be forced to justify its actions.

Complex Relationship Between Football and Betting

Despite gaming and football enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship, critics have called for change. In 2017, Labour’s Tom Watson pushed for an end to betting sponsorship deals.

In tandem with calls to curb the influence of betting on football, players have fallen foul of industry rules. In May 2019, Yerry Mina incurred the wrath of the FA by appearing in an advert for Betjuego.

The Everton player escaped a fine as it happened before he moved to the UK. However, the warning he received is a sign of the sport’s desire to maintain the integrity between football and betting.

However, even with safeguards in place, Caborn believes 32Red has overstepped the mark with the Rooney situation.

If his comments lead to pressure from the Football League, Rooney may have to change his shirt before he steps out at Pride Park Stadium.

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