All summer it kept Telstar fan Geert Velzel busy: Telstar’s new main sponsor. Gambling company 711 joined the club this summer and also became the namesake of the stadium. “As long as 711 is a shirt and stadium sponsor, I will not come to the stadium. Let alone sell stuff,” says Velzel.
From 2013, Geert, together with his son Samuel and brother Arjen, sells Telstar merchandise in the East Stand. He was also chairman of the supporters association for many years and he did a lot of volunteer work at the club from Velsen-Zuid.
“They make money off someone else’s weakness. I don’t want to be part of that”
In any case, the Telstar heart of Geert (and his family) is very big. The now 47-year-old Telstar fan has been visiting the football team since he was five. It was not an easy decision at all. “There is something to be said about every sponsor. But they make money from someone else’s weakness. More and more gamblers are joining them. I don’t want to be part of that, let alone support them with the sale of stuff. Drinks has become normal in society and I want to prevent gambling from becoming that too.”
“It feels good and bad at the same time. I’m afraid that’s the result of a moral dilemma”
Although he no longer comes to the stadium, Velzel understands the club: “They need money and I understand that the gambling companies are presenting themselves en masse. It is not that I am against Telstar now and that I want to pull fans away. I I am and remain a fan. It is a private decision. It feels good and bad at the same time. I am afraid that is the result of a moral dilemma. So far I have only had positive reactions.”
He also says that his brother will continue to sell merchandise for the time being.
Back again in 2025?
On January 1, 2025, it will be forbidden for gambling companies to sponsor a football club. “If the stadium has a different name and a different sponsor, I will come back.”