A betting site will be the main sponsor of the Chilean soccer league and there is controversy
A law banning such advertising has already been generally passed in parliament but has not yet entered into force
Cristián Torresfrom Santiago, Chile
The president of the National Association of Professional Soccer (ANFP) of Chile, Pablo Milad. EFE/Mario Ruiz/Archivo
The National Association of Professional Soccer (ANFP) reached an agreement for around 2.5 million dollars a year, with a sports betting siteand covers the entire first division soccer league in Chile.
The Chilean soccer championship begins this Friday, and it will begin with a controversy. Its biggest sponsor, Betsson, is a sports betting site, which in Chile is not regulated by law. In fact, a regulatory project for these virtual betting houses is still being discussed in parliament, which, according to what they say, could restrict their economic participation in clubs and sports tournaments or even prohibit them.
Through a statement, the president of the ANFP, Pablo Milad, expressed his satisfaction with the agreement. “We are happy to sign this alliance with Betsson and we trust that this agreement will serve to promote Chilean soccer and our championship”, he declares.
In addition, and another point that highlights the controversy, is that the contract with the bookmaker comes with a requirement that forces all first division clubs to wear the logo of the new sponsor on their shirts, despite the fact that there are clubs that have opposed it and others that have a conflict of interest, since they signed unilateral sponsorships with other brands of betting sites.
Already in December 2022, a traditional Chilean team, the Unión Española, was the first to come out against the ANFP agreement with the new sponsor, because the club does not intend to have any kind of relationship with sports betting houses, considering it “far from its principles”. “If the players are forced to wear this advertising on their shirts, it is only as a result of the pressure to which we have been subjected and not because of the desire of Unión Española,” said the club.
The team that does not comply with having the sponsor's patch on its jersey risks fines that could reach up to $180 million Chilean pesos (USD 270 thousand).
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At the end of November of the same year , the parliament approved in general, the bill that prohibits all advertising presence of bookmakers in events and sports clubs, of any discipline, including soccer. According to the approved text, the main points of the law are: Prohibition of the celebration of any type of act or contract between online betting platforms with sports organizations. Prohibition of advertising and sponsorship of online betting platforms, “whatever the medium or support by which it is transmitted or published and whatever the time or event in which it is advertised or sponsored”. They may not be part of the board of directors of a sports organization or a professional sports organization, who have a shareholding in companies or online betting companies.
(Photo by Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)
For the parliamentarian who promotes regulatory law, Marco Antonio Sulantay (UDI), it is an “incompatibility”. “It is absolutely incompatible with the bill. The base indicates that the relationship with betting houses is prohibited. The ANFP would be within that disability if it had been in force. The clubs too. This happens because the project is not yet law. It has already been approved in the indications process and we are waiting for it to be put on the table. And then it goes to the Senate,” he warns.
The congressman also maintains that once the law enters into force the scenario can become complicated for Chilean soccer. “Both the ANFP and the clubs would be transgressing when the law comes into force. Now it is no man's land. They are gaining time, optimizing it. They are taking advantage of the time to have contracts that ensure resources”, he said.
In a public statement, the ANFP announced that: “the necessary contractual precautions were taken to avoid legal violations. In addition, they warn, “compensatory mechanisms have been established in the event that the pact must be broken due to obligation.”
In this sense, in the opinion of sports journalist Freddy Milla< /b>, “it is interpreted that the ANFP hopes that if the law is approved it will have more of a tax focus, and if not, they hope that the principle of a gradual application of the law will be applied, in order to respect the contracts they have already signed, which in this case, will be valid for three years”, he declares.