Former Indomitable Lions captain, Samuel Eto’o recently became a brand ambassador for the betting operator, 1XBET, joining a long list of ex-Cameroonian players that have taken up ambassadorial roles with betting sites in the country.
He joins the likes of fellow ex-Lions skipper, Rigobert Song, who has been the face of 1XBET for some time now.
The pattern has clearly been set, and in the next few years, more Cameroonian players will become ambassadors for betting brands.
It is easy to understand why betting operators would want to have ex-players as their brand ambassadors.
Nothing resonates better with Cameroonians than football, which is arguably the No. 1 unifying factor in the country. By leveraging the popularity of football stars, betting companies would also become more popular and gain more customers for their businesses.
These players are generally seen as heroes in the country and would help boost the trustworthiness and public profiles of the betting brands.
And of course, the players are not endorsing the betting brands for free. They get paid huge sums of money to become the faces of these operators.
In the end, it is a win-win for both the operators and the players. But is it a win for Cameroonian fans and the betting public?
Sports betting is already very big in Cameroon, with a majority of youths said to be involved in betting activities.
The prospering union between betting companies and footballers would only further widen the reach of betting in the country.
That is not necessarily a good thing as betting comes with plenty of vices. We already have numerous cases of underage gambling, which will obviously increase as sports betting grows across the nation.
There is also the danger of betting addiction, which can spiral into financial, mental and social problems.Having said that, it is not all doom and gloom. These partnerships between betting companies and ex-footballers could actually turn out well for the country if channelled in the right way.
It is OK for these footballers to promote betting offers and bonuses- that’s the main reason why they have been brought on board- but there must also be a strong responsible gambling message in these endorsements.
What the regulation says about betting and affiliation
Perhaps, the betting regulators in Cameroon could be more forceful with their directives to betting companies, ambassadors and media houses regarding gambling advertisements.
Overall, betting on sports, particularly your own team’s matches as a participant, is strongly outlawed to protect the integrity of game results in the sporting world. In most sports and organizations, this is the case. Footballers must avoid any type of sports betting to avoid punishment or fines.
Footballers are not allowed to place bets on themselves, the games they are involved in, or indeed any match in the world for a reason. And here’s why. Match-fixing. By placing bets on themselves or games they are involved in, football players can conspire to influence the results of matches.
Under FECAFOOT’s Code of Ethics (2021 version), it is clearly stated in Article 20:
(5) Persons bound by this Code must refrain from any activity or conduct likely to
give the impression or suggest the existence of wrongful conduct or the existence of
an attempted wrongful conduct as described above.
Persons bound by this Code shall be forbidden from participating in, either directly or
indirectly, betting, gambling, lotteries or similar events or transactions related to
football matches. Also, they shall not have any interests, either directly or indirectly in
entities, companies, organizations, etc. that promote, broker, arrange or conduct such
activities or transactions.
This code prohibits betting on any match taking place anywhere in the national territory or any other football-related matter such as transfers, managerial hiring and firing or passing information to instruct someone to place a bet on your behalf or for their own benefit.
It is also possible to be in breach of the rules for passing on information to someone else even if a player, for example, does not know they plan to use that information to place a bet.
Even so, those participants cannot bet on any match or competition that they are involved in during that season or that they can influence, or any other football-related matter like transfers.
How 1XBET became actively involved in the football landscape
1XBET is an international bookmaker company with more than 10 years of experience and is one of the most rapidly developing companies in the betting industry.
1XBET has the largest number of markets in pre-match and live and accepts more than 250 payment solutions worldwide with the added comfort of customer support in over 30 languages.
The company provides 24 hour Casino, slots, live casino from main providers and also develops in-house white label solutions and unique products for betting operators in addition to an extensive affiliate programme. 1XBET encourages responsible gambling.
1xBet bookmaker company officially announced its partnership with some of the most prestigious African football competitions. The partnership saw 1xBet sponsor CAF’s main events across Africa through the Clubs tournaments (CAF Champions League, CAF Confederation Cup, CAF Super Cup) and CAF’s flagship tournament the Africa Cup of Nations.
1xBet bookmaker company activated its sponsorship on CAF’s official digital platforms as well as official stadiums of the competitions. The 1xBet brand has been integrated on the CAF website, social media, LED panels, 3D carpets, and can also be seen in the interview areas and on the reserve benches.
“CAF is engaged in the support and development of international football on the African continent and we are very excited and proud that our cooperation with CAF has started. Supporting key sporting events is a key strategy for us to engage football fans across the African continent and people from all over the world,“ the 1xBet press office commented.
“1XBet, a fast-growing company, has changed the image of online betting, just as CAF has also started this change in African football. Thus, for the Confederation, a partnership with one of the key players in online sports betting is obvious, “said CAF President. “This simple and user-friendly platform will help raise the profile of African teams and especially clubs outside the continent,” he added.
1xBet has been cooperating with CAF since 2019, and since then, has been a sponsor of all tournaments under the organisation’s auspices.
1XBet is one of the biggest betting operators in Africa, which has a massive but poorly regulated betting market. The total revenue from mobile gaming in the three largest gambling markets of South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria was estimated at half a billion US dollars in 2021.
“1XBet is the most marketed betting brand in Cameroon at the moment. It’s massive,” says Elume Raymond, sports analyst.
The widespread popularity of football across the continent makes images of top players effective vehicles for promotions and a host of major stars have also signed sponsorship deals to promote betting in Africa.
The vulnerable environment betting companies feed on
This targeting of Africa by betting companies has created a crisis across the continent, where unemployment is a massive issue. Attracted by advertising using top football stars and social media influencers claiming that betting can produce an alternative source of income, this is having disastrous social impact in many countries, such as Cameroon.
Elume adds: “I discovered that the content of their advertising evolved from an extra element of football fandom to a magic bullet to economic hardship.”
Gambling is supposedly regulated in 41 out of 49 sub-Saharan African countries and prohibited in seven, but a recent survey by the journal Public Health found only 25 of those supposedly regulated countries had dedicated regulators. And just two of these regulators had published annual reports continuously since their formation.
There are numerous problems bedeviling football clubs in Cameroon, but the central issue remains the persistent lack of funds. The inability of our top-flight clubs to attract sponsors and generate funds has lingered on for many seasons, and the immediate future doesn’t look promising.
Over the years ACEC clubs have struggled for much needed funds to prosecute their seasons, leaving them to depend mostly on the government and the Federation for funds.
Beyond the issue of salaries and welfare, other aspects of the game have also been hampered by the lack of funds. Cameroonian clubs now lack the competitive edge to compete favourably against their counterparts in CAF tournaments due to financial constraints.
But is there a way out of this financial mess for these clubs? This is a burning question that needs to be answered before the Cameroonian clubs start going out of business.
Sports Analysts such as Elume have identified the growing and thriving online sports betting market as a possible source of funds for Cameroonian clubs through sponsorship and partnership.
Besides partnership with Football clubs, these betting companies seem to have deep enough pockets that quite a number of them are either title sponsors of leagues across Africa.
Recently, the Ghana Premier League just sealed a multi year sponsorship deal with Betpawa, an online betting company operating in Ghana and other African countries. Similarly, the Ethiopian Premier League is sponsored by Betking, a betting company with strong ties to Nigeria.
Administrators of Cameroonian clubs can take a cue from all over the continent and take advantage of the seemingly deep pockets of betting companies in the thriving online sports betting industry in Cameroon.
If we can put our system in order, and play our cards right, betting companies are likely to jump at any opportunities to bring them closer to Cameroonian football fans.
Cameroonian football fans already have a very strong bond with these betting companies.
Samuel Eto’o, 1XBET and conflict of interest
Samuel Eto’o wants to preserve what is great in the beautiful game and FECAFOOT has devised rules regarding betting in football to help protect the integrity and future of football.
These rules apply to everyone involved in football, from the players and managers, to the match officials and club staff.
This also includes a ban on betting on any other football-related matter. For example, the transfer of players, employment of managers or team selection. The passing of inside information to somebody that uses the information for betting remains prohibited.
Inside information is information that you are aware of due to your position in the game and which is not publicly available – for example, this may be injury or team selection news.
You are not allowed to use inside information to place a bet or to instruct someone else to do so on your behalf.
You are not allowed to pass inside information on to someone else which they use for betting.
You can be considered to have passed inside information by word of mouth, email, writing, or even social media postings.
You may be in breach of the Rules if you pass inside information on to someone else even if you did not know that they were going to use it to bet.
Fixing is arranging in advance the result or conduct of a match or competition, or any event within a match or competition.Fixing is prohibited and is treated very seriously.
In addition, offering or accepting any bribes related in any way to improperly influencing the result or conduct of a match or competition or any event within a match or competition is similarly prohibited and serious.
If you attempt to fix, you are likely to get caught and receive a Federation charge. If found proved, this is likely to lead to a significant suspension, and in some instances, a lifetime ban.
If you are approached or suspect that a colleague or someone you know has been approached or is involved in fixing, then you must report it to the Federation immediately.
Failure to report any such offers may result in a Federation charge against you.
Approaches to fix games or events within games is not just the concern of players – these approaches may also be made to Match Officials. You could be offered money or rewards for influencing the outcome of a game by awarding penalties or sending off players.
The Federation has systems in place to take action should they become aware of any suspicious activity concerning a match, such as replacing the appointed Match Officials prior to the game.
Sports teams and leagues were once fiercely opposed to gambling on the games. Now, they’ve partnered with sportsbooks.
Article 19 of the FECAFOOT Code of Ethics states that:
(1) As part of their activities on behalf of FECAFOOT or its members or before
being elected or appointed as an officer, persons bound by this Code shall disclose
any personal interest that could be linked to their new functions.
(2) Persons bound by this Code must avoid any situation that could give rise to a
conflict of interest. A conflict of interest arises if a person bound by this Code has, or
appears to have, secondary interests that could influence his ability to perform his
duties with integrity in an independent and purposeful manner. Secondary interests
include, but are not limited to, gaining any possible advantage for the persons bound
by this Code themselves or related parties as defined in this Code.
Whether for themselves, intermediaries or related parties, as defined by this Code, persons bound by this Code shall not accept commission or a promise of commission for negotiating deals of any kind in the performance of their duties, unless as expressly authorized by the competent body. In the absence of such a body, the
decision shall rest with the organization of the person bound by this Code.
Is it therefore forbidden for a football administrator to endorse a sports betting company under the ethical standpoint of a conflict of interest?
Your guess is as good as the answer this article provides…
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