Online Casino Causes Stir at French Football Match

Published Saturday, August 08, 2009 - Online-Casinos.com

A Parisian-based online casino may have started a trend that we will see at European sporting events more often in the future. It is possible that matches may be cancelled or postponed if clubs do not remove illegal sponsor colours and logos from their teams jerseys. This is the latest problem facing the Lyon football club as the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionel) has given owners of the club the ultimatum, show up for the game without the branding of their new sponsor or the match will not begin.

Olympique Lyonnais football club faces a real dilemma, change their colours or quit playing. Referee Lionel Jaffredo has been given authority by the Ligue de Football Professionel to postpone the Ligue 1 match against Le Mans should the Olympique Lyonnais not comply with the current rules. The rules are set to change as of January first 2010 as France opens it's doors to online gambling but as for now the action taken by the Lyon club to use the logo colours on their uniforms of the sponsoring casino is illegal and therefore non compliant. Not having the name of the sponsor on their shirts was not enough to stop authorities from crying foul. The appeal the team made went unheard leaving them with only one other course of action, a second appeal to the Olympic committee for an unbiased opinion on the LFP ruling.

Budget Minister for France, Eric Woerth was immensely critical of the whole affair. He stated in an article for Le Journal du Dimanche, "The opening of the market for online gambling will take place during 2010," "Until then, both sides must respect French law. In a democracy, laws are not negotiable. Being a sports leader and an outlaw is incompatible. I therefore call on Jean-Michel Aulas, Lyon president and the company in question to keep their nerve."

Woerth is claiming that it has largely been a publicity stunt on the part of the website. Mr. Woerth commented that, "They carry out an operation for publicity, but it's bad news for sport," "Many other operators are behaving quite correctly. Obviously, the State, as the regulatory authority for online games, will take into account what is happening at the time of issuing the licenses. Wearing an advertisement for an illegal transaction is strictly prohibited. I will not let it happen."

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