Italian football authorities call for suspension of betting sponsorship ban

By | August 2, 2021

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has argued that the country’s betting sponsorship and advertising ban should be temporarily lifted in order to allow the sports sector to recoup lost earnings.

First implemented on 1 January 2019, the Italian advertising ban has seen the full range of commercial marketing including product placements, distribution of branded items and influencer marketing are banned as a result of the governmental decision, 

Despite this, Italian football teams have been able to reach deals with companies in alternative markets outside Italy, and any deals signed prior to the implementation of the policy were allowed to reach their agreed-upon conclusions.

The Italian government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been putting increasing pressure on the country’s betting and gaming industry, laying out plans this year to reduce the number of gambling licences from 85 to 50 by 2023, prompting the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) to notify the European Commission (EC) demanding an explanation.

Commenting on the sponsorship ban, Gabriele Gravina, President of the FIGC, stated: “We are at a crossroads; we must act quickly to prevent the professional football crisis from obliging the clubs to block their activity, thus bringing the entire sports sector to its knees, the companies of the 12 product sectors connected to it and the entire country system, with an undesirable decrease in direct and indirect tax contributions, he said.

“We did not ask the government for refreshments, rather to recognise the socio-economic importance that football has through the adoption of some urgent measures to relieve the clubs from the crisis generated by COVID-19. Football can play a decisive role in Italy’s overall recovery.”

The FIGC has requested a minimum of a two-year lift of the prohibition measures until 30 June 2023 in order to enable the industry to recuperate lost earnings.

Furthermore, the league has also argued for the creation of a Football Savings Fund, also with an end date of 30 June 2023, which would see 1% of all online and in-person sports bets in Italy sent to a national fund managed by the FIGC, with the goal of financially sporting football projects throughout the country.

Additionally measures include tax and contribution relief caveats, facilitated access to measures supporting the liquidity of sports clubs and ‘dedicated procedures’ for the installation payments and conciliation of football club’s tax debts with the Italian Revenue Agency.

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