The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has called for the country’s Government to lift the ban on gambling sponsorship agreements in football in order to make it easier for the sport to recover financially from the losses it suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.
In January 2019, the Government of Italy imposed a strict ban on all forms of gambling advertising in the country. At the time when the new measure was adopted, existing deals agreed before this date were permitted to remain active during their course.
Now, the governing body of football in Italy, Federcalcio, has addressed the Government, urging it to temporarily suspend the ban so that gambling sponsorship is permitted in football. According to the FIGC, such a move would create a fresh money flow for the sport that has suffered significant losses because of the Covid-19 situation. The proposal of the Italian Football Federation seeks to see the ban lifted for at least two years, potentially until June 2023 so that the sector is given the chance to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal made by the football governing body also includes establishing a new “Football Savings Fund” that will serve to accumulate 1% of all bets placed on sports both through a brick-and-mortar venue or online. The Fund is set to be managed by the FIGC and would be used to provide financing for various football projects across Italy.
Suspending the Ban for Some Time Will Help the Sector Recover from Negative Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic
Gabriele Gravina, the president of the Federcalcio, said that Italian football is at a crossroads and the authorities need to act quickly in order to prevent the crisis faced by professional football from forcing the local football clubs to block their activities. Mr. Gravina said that such a crisis would bring the entire sports sector “to its knees”, especially considering that the companies of the 12 product sectors are linked to it. The FIGC’s president further noted that an unwanted decline was registered in both direct and indirect tax contributions.
Mr. Gravina said that the Italian Football Federation had asked the Government to recognize the socio-economic importance of football through the adoption of some measures that would help the clubs offset the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. According to him, football could help the country’s overall recovery from Covid-19.
As mentioned above, a couple of years ago, the local Government banned Italy-facing gambling operators from making partnership agreements with clubs. However, this only made some Italian football clubs make deals with operators that focus on other markets. For example, AC Milan made a deal with Premier Bet to make the gambling company its official betting partner in Africa.
According to the Italian Football Federation has argued that the ban imposed by the authorities on gambling sponsorship deals in football is having the exact opposite effect on the country’s sports sector in general, with the restrictions making it difficult for the sports sector to survive, especially after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.