Italian FA Cup President To Use Sports Betting Revenue To Save Clubs

  • Italian FA Cup President Gabriele Gravina has proposed putting one percent of Italian sports betting revenues into a relief fund for Italian soccer clubs suffering during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • If enacted, his proposal would grant the Italian Football Federation over €100 million in relief.
  • With so many areas of life being so heavily impacted by the pandemic, Gravina’s proposal likely won’t gain much traction.
  • The proposal could benefit the Italian Football Federation long-term; at the very least, it gives the Italian government something important to consider.

ROME, ItalyGabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation, made a plea with the Italian government on Thursday to distribute a portion of its sports betting revenues to Italian soccer clubs. This, he contends, is the only way to save the clubs during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.

Gravina’s proposal would have one percent of sports betting revenues generated in Italy be placed into a fund that would provide recovery and relief for Italy’s less profitable clubs.

Gravina says that such a measure has precedent in other countries.

“There is a European Union resolution that says that copyright on betting must be protected. France already applies (a) one percent (tax) and the same thing has been asked for by the NBA.”

La Gazzetta dello Sport, an Italian sports newspaper, calculated that one percent of sports betting revenues from 2019 would total €104 million ($114 million USD).

The Italian Football Federation has 100 different professional clubs across three levels. It is unclear how the money from this measure would be distributed to clubs.

Businesses around the world have been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic, but those in Italy have been among the hardest hit. As a business that relies heavily on the ability of people to congregate in large groups, Italian soccer has been decimated by this crisis and is in serious financial jeopardy.

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Companies offering soccer betting have also been hit extremely hard and will likely push back against the government seizing a portion of their revenues.

Will Clubs Actually Receive Betting Revenue?

While COVID-19 has been undoubtedly devastating for Italian soccer, the same can be said for the country’s medical system and general infrastructure. Financial aid for soccer clubs will likely be very low on the list of priorities for the Italian government.

Even though precedent exists for Gravina’s proposal, it comes at an extremely inopportune time for a country that is struggling just to staff and stock its hospitals adequately.

The COVID-19 outbreak is going to have massive ramifications on the entire world. Unfortunately for the Italian Football Federation and other businesses deemed inessential for public wellbeing, they are probably going to take the brunt of the financial hit as governments prioritize relief for essential industries.

Gravina’s proposal could lay the groundwork for future relief efforts, however, so it may not be entirely in vain. It is only a matter of waiting until his plan becomes politically and economically expedient.