Alberto Garzon: October marks a new era for Spanish gambling beyond sponsorship restrictions

La Liga football clubs have been placed in direct conflict with Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs having renewed their betting sponsorships and partnerships ahead of the imminent enforcement of Spain’s federal Royal Decree on Advertising.

This weekend, as La Liga commenced its 2020/2021 season, Alberto Garzon – Spain’s Minister of Consumer Affairs -lambasted football clubs for purposely undermining the Decree’s mandate, which will enforce a new era for Spanish advertising across all mediums.

Speaking to sports broadcaster Onda Madrid, Garzon stated his disbelief that 11 La Liga football clubs would line-up this weekend wearing a bookmaker’s logo on the front of their matchday shirts.

Garzon expressed his disappointment that Spanish football clubs continued to pursue betting sponsorship, as club management had been informed of their duties as central stakeholders in upholding Spain’s new federal code on advertising.

The law is the law” Garzon declared. “Clubs have been reckless renewing their sponsorships. From October no new contract can be signed and there will be a short period in which to extinguish their existing ones.”

Though Garzon confirmed that Spanish football clubs would be allowed a grace period to fulfil existing contracts, the minister warned that it would be a ‘short window of limited months’.

Garzon dismissed concerns related to financial losses, stating that the government had helped smaller teams by intervening in the renegotiation of La Liga’s international broadcast contracts – which will now be sold collectively rather than individually favouring Spain’s biggest clubs.

Questioned on sports betting’s EU-level appeal of last-minute Royal Decree amendments, Garzon branded it as an “absurd challenge”.

Once implemented, Garzon stated that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs would move onto its next project of restructuring Spain’s federal laws on land-based gambling venues working with the DGOJ’s ‘Gaming Policy Council.

Garzon maintains that Spain’s provincial governments are unanimously in favour of “homogenizing regulations on gambling venues with the aim of protecting society’s most vulnerable”.

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