Advertising breach warning for Eredivisie football club

According to the Dutch press, an Eredivisie football club, presumably PEC Zwolle, received a reprimand from the Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit or KSA.

The club intended to display an image of the captain, Bram van Polen, on the 23-storey building in Zwolle.

However, the team in question holds a shirt sponsorship agreement with a gambling operator, therefore the KSA ruled that displaying the captain’s image in public, would constitute a violation of the Netherlands’ ban on untargeted advertising for gambling companies.

The football club argued that the tribute should be permitted under the existing rules on sports sponsorship, which allow gambling companies to continue sponsoring sports teams until the expiration of existing contracts in 2025.

This was rebutted by the authority on the grounds that the case could not be decided by only considering rules on sponsorships, since the display could also be viewed as a piece of untargeted advertising.

In a statement it said that “Sports sponsorship involves a neutral mention of the licence holder’s logo or name as a sponsor as in the case of sports clothing of professional athletes. Furthermore, in sports sponsorship it is important that there is a direct relationship between the neutral mention of the logo or name of the licence holder, the practice of the sport and the place where this sport is practiced.”

The regulator therefore ruled that as the appearance of the logo on the proposed image display would not have been purely incidental, it would have constituted an untargeted advertisement for the gambling brand in question.

Moreover, given the profile of the footballer in question, the display may also have violated the Netherlands’ ban on the use of role models and public figures in gambling advertising.

The KSA, hence, warned the club that if it intended to persist with its plans, a preventive sanction would be issued. In response, the club announced it would withdraw the proposed display to avoid committing any violation.

Interested in a chat about how operators in the Netherlands manage to stay compliant with the applicable rules and regulations? Speak to Lawrence Marchese (, Mel McElhatton ( and Thees Buschmann ( from Chevron Group.