Football gambling advert featuring Sterling, Rashford and Sancho banned for featuring young players

Olivia Tobin

A Facebook ad promoting a gambling app has been banned for featuring young footballers, including four England players.

Images of Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcus Rashford, alongside French footballer Kylian Mbappe, were used in a paid-for Facebook ad by BetIndex Ltd in May.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received a complaint about the ad - which was promoting an app through which users could play on a virtual football stock market called Football Index and replicate buying and selling shares in particular players - on the basis that the players were all under 25 years old.

The advertising code states that no-one who is, or appears to be, under 25 years old should play a significant role in gambling marketing communications, and the ASA said the ad had not met the only exception within that rule.

The authority stated: "The ad had not appeared in a place, such as the advertiser's own website, where a bet could be placed through a transactional facility, nor had the players been used to illustrate specific betting selections where they were the subject of the bet offered."

The text on the ad said: "Jadon Sancho is now the football stockmarket's third most valuable player, with many traders seeing handsome profits", and labelled him: "Sancho The Big Mover".

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BetIndex, the firm behind the ad, said the images were used solely to show the functional features of the platform and what consumers would see if they used the app, and added that no player was featured gambling.

But the ASA ruled that while the intention of the ad was to illustrate the nature of the app and how it could be used, it was "irresponsible" in its use of players under 25.

The ASA said the ad must not appear again in that form, and told BetIndex Ltd to ensure they did not feature under-25s playing a significant role in marketing communications unless the ad met the exception to the advertising code.

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