Sports sponsorship of online bookmakers had been one of the juiciest sources of income for soccer teams in Italy and Spain in the last ten years. The mighty Real Madrid was one of the first clubs in the Spanish League to show off plays from the glittering billboards of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, the name of one of these gambling companies. Most teams followed suit, with few exceptions, such as Real Sociedad, which received a resounding no from most of its partners, when the board asked if they wanted to link the team with betting advertising.
But the match-fixing scandals that have erupted in Italy, Spain and other leagues in Europe, as well as the growth of gambling among the younger population, has prompted governments to take action. In Italy, the Decree of Dignity was approved last year, which prevents the jet of advertising of sports bets.
The same measure was taken by the Government of Spain, through the Royal Decree on Betting. Soccer teams and any other sport have until August 1 of this year to finalize sponsorship agreements with bookmakers that invested close to 500 million euros in advertising.
In Venezuela, there is no law that regulates the operation of online betting companies or their sponsorship in sports. It is not surprising, consequently, that the bookmakers have taken advantage of the legal vacuum to sign advertising contracts with professional teams in the country, such is the case of Deportivo Táchira, which recently presented Juega en Línea as its brand new sponsor for the new season of the Professional Football League (Liga Futve).
Although there is no specific law on the subject, using the logo of the betting company on the team's shirt will cause complications for the club, and it will surely have to cover or remove the advertising that they already stamped on their new uniforms.
The Organic Law for the Protection of children and adolescents prevents minors from being used to promote advertising that threatens their dignity and health, such as gambling, which can lead to gambling.
As by the regulations of the Futve League, teams must have players under the age of 18 in their squads, Táchira cannot use uniforms with advertising from the betting house in training or in the matches themselves. No male or female minor in the first team or in the minor categories may wear this garment, because Táchira could be the subject of a complaint to the National Protection Council, which defends the rights of this vulnerable population.
Táchira's matches on Venezuelan open signal or cable channels will not be able to be broadcast either, if they go out onto the field wearing the shirt that carries the betting house's advertising.
The Spring Law that regulates the content of the media strictly prohibits the advertising of betting or companies linked to gambling and gambling, and less if children are used, unless they are for charitable purposes, which is not the case of the sponsor. from Táchira.
The channel that violates this provision and broadcasts a Táchira game with the advertising of the betting house Juega en Línea risks being fined financially and sanctioned with two days of closure by Conatel. Neither can radio stations transmit messages related to this sponsor.
Táchira's bet looks like a roulette wheel.
The integrity of sports results are put at risk
The sports betting business carries the risk of result rigging. The Fifa code of ethics prohibits players, officials, coaches or organizers of football matches from participating directly or indirectly by third parties in bets related to this sport.
In Venezuela there have been reports of manipulation of results in first and second division teams in which players and coaches have been involved. Having a bookmaker as a sponsor poses an ethical problem. With what morals does the Táchira board of directors now ask its players not to participate in bets, if the team itself promotes online betting? Who can ensure that confidential information that affects the results of the club will not be used for the benefit of the bookmaker that sponsors it?
The Integrity Management of the FVF, headed by Diana Carolina Castro, must carefully review this sponsorship and determine if Táchira puts the reliability of its sports results in the Futve League at risk.
Clear registration and accounts for teams to exercise the right to vote
The recent statement that the Venezuelan Football Federation sent to the first and second division teams that wish to participate in the elections of the National General Assembly next May made a point clear. They must fully comply with the Sports Law in order to exercise the right to vote in that conclave, where the new national authorities of the FVF will be elected for the period 2021-2025.
For the first time in the electoral history of the sports entity, all the teams that participated last season in the second category will be able to vote. However, all first and second clubs must present their updated certificate of registration in the IND's National Sports Registry, and show the income tax return for the last two fiscal years. The FVF will be able to verify if the clubs declared the economic contribution they received from Conmebol in 2020, to alleviate the economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic.