Italian federation wants government ban on betting sponsorship lifted to boost club finances
The national football body presents proposals for new income opportunities.
- Italy currently has a blanket ban on nationwide gambling-related sponsorships and advertising partnerships
- The FIGC wants a lifting of the regulations for at least two years
- Other proposals include the ‘Football Savings Fund’ and tax breaks
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is pushing for the country’s betting and advertising ban to be temporarily lifted to open up more sources of income for football teams including the financial cost of Covid-19.
Since its implementation in 2019, Italian government regulations have maintained a general ban on all game-related sponsorships and advertising partnerships for Italian sports organizations at the national level. However, they are free to enter into agreements covering foreign markets. One example is football giants Juventus’ contract with 10Bet, the club’s official gaming and betting partner.
Even so, professional sports teams across Italy are struggling to recoup the lost income caused by the pandemic. This was particularly evident in Serie A, the highest level of Italian football.
In May, league champions Inter Milan took out a loan worth € 275 million (US $ 327 million) from US firm Oaktree Capital Management to support the club’s finances, while that Juventus recently confirmed a capital increase of up to 400 million euros (US $ 476 million). million). The latter is also bracing for a record loss of 185 million euros (US $ 220 million) for 2020/21, according to OffThePitch.
An amendment to the gambling sponsorship ban would likely secure new income for teams, although the Italian government has already set plans for further restrictions. This would see the number of gaming licenses in the country increase from 85 to 50 by 2023.
Commenting on the ban, FIGC President Gabriele Gravina said: “We are at a crossroads; we must act quickly to prevent the crisis in professional football forcing clubs to block their activity, bringing the entire sports sector to its knees, the companies in the 12 product sectors linked to it and the entire national system, with an undesirable drop in direct and indirect tax contributions.
“We did not ask the government for refreshments, but rather to recognize the socio-economic importance of football through the adoption of certain urgent measures to relieve the clubs of the crisis generated by Covid-19. Football can play a decisive role in Italy’s overall recovery.
The FIGC proposes the lifting of the ban for a minimum of two years until June 30, 2023. The organization also wants the creation of a “Football savings fund”, which would also be in place until the same dated. This would allow one percent of all online and in-person sports betting in Italy to be sent to a national fund, which would be managed by the FIGC and used to support football projects across the country.
Other measures set out by the FIGC include tax relief and contribution reserves, easier access to sports club liquidity support measures and “dedicated procedures” for setup payments and reconciliation of tax debts. football clubs with the Italian Revenue Agency.
The proposals were forwarded to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, representatives of the departments of economy and finance, health and economic development, as well as the undersecretary for sports.