Norwich City have canceled their shirt sponsorship for the 2021-22 Premier League season with Asian gaming company BK8 after just three days.

Following the announcement on Monday of Norwich’s new lead partner, it was discovered that BK8 was using images of young men sexing in social media promotions that would have been banned by the UK Advertising Standards Agency.

The Instagram account of a BK8 “ambassador” with over a quarter of a million followers is also directly linked to inappropriate images, as revealed by The Athletic.

This led to fan reaction on Twitter, more than 100 complaints sent to the club and video statements from fan groups.

Having received feedback from its fans and partners, the club announced the end of its sponsorship deal with BK8 on Thursday morning.

Norwich City Statements

Norwich City may announce the mutual termination of the club’s business partnership with BK8.

The club and BK8 accepted feedback from their supporters and partners, and after ongoing discussions we agreed to immediately terminate the partnership.

As a club, we are proud of our place in the local community and our relationships with fans around the world. We have worked tirelessly for a considerable amount of time building relationships through a wide range of media and community projects.

While we anticipate some negative responses to the announcement of partnership with a betting company, the club understands the reaction to BK8, its affiliates and other forms of marketing from similar brands whose values ​​do not align with those of the football club.

On this occasion, we got it wrong. For this, and for any offense caused, the club apologizes.

Norwich City’s chief operating officer, Ben Kensell, said:

We work hard to build trust and engagement through our countless initiatives with our fans and partners. We place great value on our open and honest relationships with our community and supporters.

As a self-funded club, there is always a good balance between generating the levels of income needed to help maintain this model while working within our visions and values.

On this occasion, we made an error in judgment. Our standards were not at the levels we demand from our football club.

Now we can only apologize to our fans and former players, Grant Holt and Darren Eadie, who were all over the BK8 launch promotional campaign, for any offense caused.

We remain highly committed to diversity and equality between our football club and its community.” We want to continue to embed a highly inclusive culture throughout the club, along with an accessible and welcoming environment free from humiliating and discriminatory behavior.

Declaração do BK8

BK8 confirms the mutual termination of our commercial partnership with Norwich City Football Club.

Our main mission is to provide a secure and regulated betting platform for sports fans. It is therefore essential that we listen to the voices of fans in the communities we serve and recognize when we are wrong.

We apologize for the social media content posted by BK8 affiliates that caused offense, and we took immediate action to change the way we market the brand.

Now that the partnership has been mutually ended, we plan to take steps to show football fans that we’ve learned from our mistakes and improved as a brand. The BK8 commits to the fans who helped in a portion of these sponsorship funds back to relevant charities and associations.

This marks the first step in our journey to regain the trust of Premier League fans as we work hard to ensure that football sponsorship money is invested back into the fan communities that matter most.

What happens next?

Norwich will now begin the search for a replacement sponsor. It almost certainly won’t be a gaming company, although it was BK8’s marketing content in Asia that finally saw Norwich pull the plug.

Norwich and BK8 reached an agreement to cancel the deal on Wednesday at the cost of £5m, which the club was willing to earn from its new sponsor.

This now becomes an immediate hole in Norwich’s budget for next season and a hole that is unlikely to be significantly mitigated by a new partner.