Soccer-Italy FA urges gov't to open full stadiums to help football sector survive

·2-min read

ROME (Reuters) - The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has called on Italy's government to introduce measures to improve an economic outlook it says endangers football's survival as a business, including allowing full crowds back into stadiums.

Under current rules, a maximum capacity of 50 per cent is allowed at stadiums in Italy, but only vaccinated holders of the ‘Green Pass’ can gain access.

With three weeks to go until the start of the new Serie A season, the FIGC published an open letter to the Government on Friday, saying Italian football was “issuing a cry of alarm”.

“We are at a crossroads. We must act quickly to prevent the professional football crisis from forcing clubs to halt activity,” said FIGC President Gabriele Gravina.

The letter highlights the grave financial repercussions football clubs have faced from COVID-19 measures since the pandemic first hit at the start of 2020, and claims that the restrictions “have become unsustainable, jeopardising the survival of the entire sector”.

The FIGC says that for every euro the Government has invested in football over the last 13 years, it has received 17.3 euros in return, with Italian football raising around 14 billion euros in total for government coffers in that time.

The governing body has called for new measures, including reopening stadiums at 100 per cent capacity to Green Pass holders, changes to tax rules, and a suspension to the ban on allowing clubs to be sponsored by betting companies.

“In talks with the institutions, we have highlighted that the crisis produced by the health emergency, and the consequent restrictive measures, have generated a significant liquidity crisis in professional football,” said Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino.

“It has put on its knees a sector that can help a lot to contribute to the relaunch of the country from an economic and social standpoint.”

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, Editing by William Maclean)

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