La Liga returns with bookmaker blackout 

La Liga football clubs will be forced to remove all betting related sponsorships and in-stadia promotional materials in accordance with the government’s COVID-19 ‘Social Shield’ decree emergency response. 

The top flight of Spanish football will return on Thursday 12 June with the Seville derby (Sevilla FC vs Real Betis) restarting La Liga’s postponed schedule after an 11-week hiatus. 

Despite easing a majority of social restrictions, the Spanish government has underlined that La Liga matches must follow temporary emergency provisions announced in March, which includes a ban on all forms of gambling advertising until 21 June.

Upholding emergency laws, eight clubs – Valencia, Alavés, Leganés, Granada, Mallorca, Sevilla, Osasuna and Levante – will recommence their La Liga seasons blanking out bookmaker sponsorships.

Under the mandate of Spain’s COVID-19 Social Shield Decree’, the Consumer Affairs Ministry was allowed to fast-track the approved laws of Spain’s ‘Royal Decree on Advertising’ – a federal bill which permits a ‘four-hour advertising window (1-5 am)’ for licensed gambling companies.

Spanish bookmakers and wider media stakeholders have criticised the Consumer Affairs Ministry for sanctioning a rash judgement, which removed a ‘grace period’ to allow betting firms to fulfil advertising contracts with media partners prior to the start of the 2020/2021 football season in September.

La Liga is also aiming to allow stadiums to host match days at ‘one-third of capacity’ providing they adhere to strict social distancing laws. La Liga has detailed that it is currently working on further developments with government representatives to ease further matchday restrictions.

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