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FAI lobbied Government for cut of bookies' profits, Irish Sun can reveal

4th January, 07:37

THE FAI lobbied the Government for a cut of bookmakers' profits, we can reveal.

The footballing body argued that it should "benefit" from bets placed on Irish football matches - which they described as "the opportunistic commercial exploitation of football competitions by third parties."

Documents obtained by the Irish Sun show the FAI argued that a percentage of gambling revenues should be redistributed into their coffers as they own the intellectual rights of the games being wagered on.

In a submission document, sent to the Department of Sport by FAI CEO John Delaney on June 11, 2012, the FAI called for the Government to back their suggestion that game organisers should receive some financial gain by betting companies.

The document reads: "The sporting competitions on which bets are placed are the result of an intellectual, financial and human investment by the competition organiser, and as the governing body for the sport of football in Ireland,

"It should benefit from any financial profits generated by the opportunistic commercial exploitation of football competitions by third parties operating in Ireland and abroad."

It adds: "It is the contention of the FAI that the Irish Government should ensure financial solidarity for football via the redistribution of new sources of tax revenue from the commercial exploitation of high level and professional football by the betting industry with a view to it being distributed towards the future development of the sport in Ireland."

In August 2016, the FAI announced that it had struck a sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes making them their official betting partner the end of 2018.

BoyleSports and BragBet had previously been official sponsors of the international team.

In March, the FAI announced a sponsorship deal with Kenyan group SportsPesa, despite concerns over partnering with another betting company.

At the time of the FAI's proposal, there was a one per cent turnover tax levied on every bet placed with bookmakers here with the proceeds going the Horse and Greyhound fund - regardless of the sport on which the bet has been wagered.

However, following Budget 2019, the turnover tax increased to 2 per cent on January 1, sending an additional revenue stream of roughly €52million to the Exchequer.

Former Ireland international Niall Quinn has recently called on the Government to introduce tax breaks for Irish football clubs in an effort to grow game.

The former Sunderland frontman also suggested that the Government open up the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund to all football.

The FAI's proposal did not state how much they should receive from the betting industry.

However, it does highlight legislation in France "where online betting operators are obliged to pay 1 per cent of turnover to sports bodies" as a pertinent example.

The 3-page policy document states: "Sports betting operators should be required to pay fair compensation to competition organisers, some of which may be used to help finance the fight against match-fixing and some of which could also be re-distributed to amateur sport."