Italian Football Federation calls for lifting ban on bookmakers agreements

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is calling for the country’s ban on advertising and sponsorship of bookmakers to be temporarily lifted to allow the sports sector to recover from the losses generated by the pandemic.

First implemented on January 1, 2019, the rule in Italy caused a series of actions and commercial marketing to be prohibited as a result of a government decision.

Despite this, Italian football teams were able to close deals with companies in alternative markets outside Italy, and deals signed before the policy’s implementation were allowed to proceed until the closing date.

The Italian government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has increasingly put pressure on the country’s betting and gaming industry, drawing up plans to reduce the number of gaming licenses from 85 to 50 by 2023.

Gabriele Gravina, President of the FIGC, said: “We are at a crossroads; we must act quickly to prevent the crisis in professional football from forcing clubs to interrupt their activity, affecting the entire sports sector and the national system, with an undesirable decrease in direct and indirect tax contributions”.

Gravina continued: “We are not asking the government for anything absurd, but we recognize the socioeconomic importance of football through the adoption of some urgent measures to help clubs due to the crisis generated by COVID-19. Football can play a decisive role in Italy’s overall recovery.”

Entity requested that agreements with bookmakers be allowed until 2023

The FIGC has requested a minimum two-year suspension of the ban measures until June 30, 2023, in order to allow the industry to recover lost profits.

In addition, the league also advocated the creation of a Football Fund, with a closing date of June 30, 2023, which would make 1% of all online and face-to-face sports betting in Italy go to the national fund managed by FIGC, with the objective of making financially viable soccer projects throughout the country.

The requests include reductions in taxes and contributions, easier access to measures to support the liquidity of sports clubs and ‘specific procedures’ for paying football clubs’ tax debts to the Italian Revenue.