Italian FA Strongly Advises To Suspend Gambling Sponsorship Ban

The Italian football federation popularly known as the Federazione Italiano Giuoco Calcio or the FIGC has finally taken a stance to revoke the instituted “Gambling Sponsorship Ban Of 2019”. The governing body seeks government permission and grants to temporarily place the advertising and sponsorship ban on hold for approximately two years. FIGC claim is to ensure all football teams receive the proper financial support and aid in the country’s economic growth.

The FA designed a report and named it the “Analysis and socio-economic impact of Italian professional football,” which details the necessary means and reasons for the suspension. Also, the suggestion comes in the wake of the negative impacts of the pandemic on the country and worlds economies. Every country is trying to find means and ways to revive the sports industry, and lifting the ban is one of the easiest and most effective means of solving the financial challenge.

Gambling Sponsorship Ban Of 2019

The Italian Government has maintained strict rules against gambling-related sponsorship deals in the country’s domestic market. The ban took effect back in 2019, limiting any sponsorship and advertising deals within the country. However, the ban has no restrictions regarding said deals outside Italy or the “Overseas Markets.”

Some of the Italian-based teams thrive with such support. One is Juventus, which recently finalized its contract with 10XBet. Second is the popular AC Milan, which just entered into a regional-based agreement, whose application is in Africa with Premier Bet. However, gaining a partner or official gaming platform does not prevent the professional teams in the country from undergoing further financial distress. One of the Serie A champions, Inter Milan, took a considerable loan worth $327 million to help shoulder their finance troubles. Juventus are also facing a significant loss of $220 million after the 2020/2021 football season. The request for an amendment on the Gambling Sponsorship Ban Of 2019 will help raise more income for Italian professional football teams, keeping it afloat for the coming two years.

Determining Factor for Suspension  

Before the pandemic shook all the pillars of the country’s economy, professional football was one of the highest revenue generators, collecting $5.94 billion. The amount made up 12% of the global football GDP and accounted for over 70% of all revenue generated by the sports industry. In Italy, the industry made $1.66 billion in revenue in form of social security and taxes. However, after the pandemic hit, the amount has drastically dropped and the incurred costs amount to $1.31 billion. The amount is only in reference to the 2019/2020 and the 2020/2021 football game seasons.

As a result, Gabriele Gravina the FIGC president decided to make a new decision and come up with a solution to the crisis. He says that “the football industry is at a crossroads and in need of immediate action. If not, the industry will probably enter into a financial crisis bringing the entire sports industry in Italy down.” Gravina also reports that “failing the football sports industry will indirectly result in the collapse of 12 different product sectors. The country will also face major repercussions with a decrease in contributions, especially Tax!”

The FIGC president emphasizes that lifting the ban is of socio-economic importance, and the Government has to realize the benefits that will arise from it. Also, it will indicate the urgency required to remedy the impacts that emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic. Gravina highlights the positives that football as a game and socio-economic activity will play a major role in the Italian country’s economic recovery. Plus, the president seeks approval by insisting that the request isn’t for recreational purposes or access to refreshments but a sustainable solution to a dying and beloved Italian sport.

The Football Savings Fund

The proposal isn’t dedicated to lifting the ban only but also providing sustainable financial backing for football teams and industry in the country. In the two years “when the ban suspension is guaranteed,” the report suggests that 1% of the income generated from the bets on all football or sports in the country will finance as a “Football Savings Fund.”

Football Savings Fund will be a national fund under the FIGC management. However, its application will be limited to Football projects in Italy. The amount charged will include all bets from online betting sites and through retail locations or outlets. Other measures that will ensure the success of the Football Savings Fund include contribution and tax relief stipulations. The provisions will help in the conciliation of the Italian Revenue Agency and present professional soccer teams debts in taxes. Plus, it will help develop a specific and dedicated procedure for payment installations for sports clubs to ensure the liquidity of the clubs. These are both for short term and long term survival of the sports industry and the components that make up the said industry, such as clubs.

The FIGC tabled the suspension report in front of the country’s president of the Italian Council of Ministers, the country’s representatives in the Economy and Finance departments, the Undersecretary for Sports in Italy and the Health Economic Development department. Thus, the Savings Fund continues to gain popularity in the country due to its high-profile stature and urgency. Also, it does affect major industries starting with the football industry; with Serie A on the hooks, the gambling industry and government-based regulations!

Italian people are now awaiting the Government’s decision on the suspension ban and the impacts that may arise from it! However, the Government is yet to be convinced of the plan as it had already set several other restrictions awaiting approval. The regulations, once approved would reduce the gambling licenses awarded in the country from a total of 85 to 50 in number. The restrictions were to occur in the same period indicated by the proposed suspension report analysis, year 2023.

Associated Income from Proposed Suspension

Creating income or revenue for the sustainability of the sports industry isn’t the only push reason for the suspension. Gravina highlights that ‘the European Gaming and Betting Association or the EGBA reports massive incomes related to gambling activities and sports.” The president says that “there is need for essential organization of the competitive sports in conjunction with gambling-related deals in the country. He indicates that it is crucial to the industry’s survival only if the country takes advantage of the gambling industry now. The Government must accrue sponsorship deals for football, less risk losing all that income to other teams in other countries. The president of FIGC indicates that sports betting holds an appeal and is an exciting sport for European Clubs as seen in other countries.

Europe’s Association of Gambling Companies, one of the largest enterprises in the world annual report in the past year, indicate that the member companies contributed a whopping 408 million Euros. The amount wasn’t a compulsory request by the organization but a voluntary venture to provide sponsorship deals, streaming payments, and other sports-related expenditures in 2020. Therefore, Italy is losing its momentum, and there is a need to shake up the Government to lift the ban and have a go at the country’s ability to raise money through gambling. However, the process is only possible with a lift of the sponsorship ban of 2019, something that the Italian Government isn’t yet ready to let go of! More info and Italian related iGaming news can be found on slotjava.it.

Federica Di Lorenzi, Contributor, Slotjava.it
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