Everton have cut short their shirt partnership agreement with online betting firm SportPesa.
The Kenyan gaming brand, which has been on the club’s shirts since a five-year deal was struck in May 2017, has agreed to the termination of its contract at the end of the season.
A club spokesperson said: “This has been a difficult decision but one that allows us to best deliver on our commercial plan and to grasp the new opportunities now open to us.
“The club would like to thank SportPesa for all of the work that has been done together. Our partnership has seen our first team visit Africa on two occasions, as well as former players and club staff take part in numerous activations in the region.
“This has allowed us to grow our own footprint in Africa and further strengthen our special relationship with the continent.”
Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale admitted at the club’s annual general meeting in January that “in an ideal world” the team would not be sponsored by a gambling company.
The close links between football and the betting industry remain firmly in the spotlight and board officials at the AGM were asked about their close association with SportPesa and how it could comfortably sit alongside the work the club’s Everton in the Community scheme did around mental health issues.
Barrett-Baxendale accepted it would be preferable to have a different sponsor going forward.
“I think you raise a good point,” she said. “The company that we deal with has responsible gambling and we know our sport is underpinned by gambling.
“In an ideal world moving forward we would look to have a different type of sponsor on the front of our shirts like all football clubs would, but that is a commercial decision that we make as a football club.
“SportPesa have actually been a fantastic partner to Everton Football Club in terms of the funds they have given to support Everton in the Community, but I do agree it is responsible betting.
“We can’t stop people taking a choice but certainly don’t want to be responsible for driving irresponsible betting.”