Chelsea are in talks with online casino Stake to become the club’s new front-of-shirt sponsor for an initial year.
The deal is thought to be of similar value to the £40million-a-year earned in the previous agreement with telecommunications company Three.
The Stake sponsorship has yet to be signed off at Stamford Bridge but they look set to beat competition from insurer Allianz, who reportedly offered only £20m-a-year. Parallel talks with a cryptocurrency company are also said to have collapsed at the eleventh hour.
Chelsea’s year-long commitment will give them a chance to reassess their options should they qualify for Europe again next season.
Their 12th-place Premier League finish last season made their prime advertising real estate less attractive to suitors this summer.
The decision to partner with a gambling company is deemed pragmatic in the circumstances but the leaves the club open to criticism.
The Premier League voluntarily agreed to ban match-day front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies from the end of the 2025/26 season, noting the potential harm these deals can do.
The decision is an uneasy compromise given it stays possible to promote gambling brands on shirt sleeves and pitchside advertising hoardings.
Chelsea remain committed to the future Premier League agreement and have time to reassess their plans to stay compliant.
Stake last year had a multi-year agreement with Everton, thought to be worth around £10m-a-year. Eight Premier League teams including Bournemouth, Brentford, Everton, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton and West Ham had front-of-shirt gambling sponsors last season.