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Italian club football faces €400m deficit, urges government aid

Lega Serie A, the governing body of the top tier of Italian football, has urged the government for economic aid, stating it could lose €400m (£361m/$470m) this season due to matches being pushed behind closed doors once again.

Last week, the Italian government passed a decree that will see sports events going ahead without fan entry, eliminating the former rule allowing up to 1,000 spectators at stadiums for football games and other sports.

Lega Serie A’s president, Paolo Dal Pino, and Gabriele Gravina, president of the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC), the organisation that oversees the entire footballing landscape in Italy, have penned a letter to the government in response warning that the league system was “at high risk of collapse.”

The letter explains that Serie A saw losses of €200m during the 2019-20 season, mostly due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which forced games to be played behind closed doors.

The organisations have attributed a significant 60 per cent of the deficit to the lack of ticketing revenue.

For the current 2020-21 Serie A season, Dal Pino and Gravina argue that the losses will reach double of last season’s to €400m. The pair have predicted that 65 per cent of the lost cash will be caused by the lack of match-day revenue, while 35 per cent will be lost by missing sponsorships.

“The football industry makes more than €4.7 billion a year in terms of direct earning (Serie A produces 65% of it),” the letter reads. “Serie A produces fiscal contributions for more than €1 billion a year and attracts relevant investments.”

Lega Serie A is asking the government for “adequate reforms or, at least, a suspension of their tax contributions from now until the end of the emergency,” Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

Serie A was finished without fans last season following the restart, though fans returned for the 2020-21 season in late September.

According to Codacons, an Italian nonprofit that aims to protect consumers’ rights, the financial impacts of the new bans and restrictions on Italian businesses will add up to €6.8bn. It estimates that the biggest financial repercussions will fall on the sports sector, which should see its total annual revenue drop to €7bn, from €10bn.

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