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Melbourne Victory put ACL sponsorship deal on ice amid gambling concerns

Melbourne Victory vs. Daegu
Melbourne Victory played Daegu in their away shirt after shelving their ACL sponsorship deal.

Melbourne Victory put their Asian Champions League shirt sponsorship deal on ice on the day they announced it amid concerns over the sponsor's potential links to the gambling industry.

Victory signed a deal with Hong Kong-based media agency Kaishi Entertainment, announcing the arrangement ahead of their first ACL match against Daegu FC on Tuesday.

But within minutes of kick-off, the A-League champions announced that the deal was shelved after they, along with several fans, noticed Twitter images of a woman reported to be Kaishi Entertainment's general manager Yi Jing Chen promoting a gambling company called KashBet.

Further searches by the club, journalists and fans showed other links to Kashbet.

Although the Asian Football Confederation, which organises the ACL, had cleared the sponsorship, it forbids gambling sponsors.

Kaishi has said it is not a front for Kashbet, but Victory's partnership with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation gave the club another reason to be concerned.

They opted to call off the deal and instead had to play the game in their away shirt with home shorts and socks.

A different solution was found for goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas' green shirt -- a piece of green sticky tape over the Kaishi insignia.

With Kaishi denying betting links, club and company will look to revisit the partnership in time for Victory's next match, against Sanfrecce Hiroshima next Tuesday.

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