Sonny Bill Williams Refuses Shirt with Gambling Sponsor Logo

Beer and gambling companies are the usual sponsors for different teams worldwide.

This fact has posed a challenge for many Muslim players who believe that both alcohol and gambling are prohibited in Islam.

New Zealand Muslim rugby superstar Sonny Bill Williams, who recently signed a $10million, two-year contract with Canadian team the Toronto Wolfpack in November 2019, is the latest to face this challenge.

The Muslim player refused to wear his Super League sponsors logo of a gambling company due to his Muslim faith.

Gambling is considered haram or unlawful in Islam. It is an “abomination, of Satan’s handiwork”, according to God’s words in the Quran.

Gambling is also a violation of justice, a waste of God’s blessings, it’s addictive, it incites hatred & envy, it often goes hand-in-hand with alcohol, it leads to laziness, it feeds greed, and it makes one never satisfied with his portion in life.

Toronto chairman Bob Hunter told the UK Telegraph on Wednesday that the club supports his decision. 

“I think Betfred will benefit by taking the position that we respect and honor the player’s religious beliefs,” he told the publication. 

“In today’s society there are some very sensitive issues but I think the sponsor can say ‘yes, okay, we understand this. He’s a big brand and a big name but we get it’.”

This is not the first time for Williams to face this challenge.

In 2017, Williams covered up the Bank of New Zealand logo on his Auckland Blues kit shirt with permission from the New Zealand Rugby Union.   

In 2016, Australian cricket Muslim player Fawad Ahmed was allowed to compete without wearing the logo of a beer sponsor on his playing shirt due to his Muslim faith.