French gambling advertising rules are creating many issues amongst organizers regarding organizational control. According to the gambling rules, riders in the cycling team of Unibet.com started GP de La Marseillaise in France last week replacing the team name with an eye-catching question mark on their jerseys.
This was a process of showing silent protest, which cut the news headlines not only in France, but also in Europe. Thing also shows the existing conflict between cycling's international bodies. Both Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) are part of this conflict.
ASO claims UCI wants to dominate the power in the sport while UCI states that it is maintaining the integrity of the teams participating in races. UCI is applying strict criteria of the racing licenses.
According to a source, Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) was compelled to request the cycling team of Unibet to hide its logo displaying foreign betting and gambling operators. According to French gambling advertising rules, foreign companies are prohibited to advertise on French soil.
Meanwhile, UCI spokesperson Enrico Carpani claimed that ASO was solely responsible to crate such confusing situation of confusing the situation. ASO asked Unibet to cover its logo; no French authorities were responsible for that.
"UCI starts from the principle that if there are legal issues we will always respect them," he said. "But this wasn't a problem last year, and if that was the case, Unibet would have known about it and its participation in the ProTour would have been assessed differently." Enrico Carpani added.
He was all praise for Unibet’ team for their sportive attitude towards the matter. He said, "Unibet has acted in exemplary fashion and with great dignity”. Carpani refused to make any comment on the issue if the French gambling monopoly Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) had ordered them apply the ban.
Chief executive of Unibet, Petter Nylander said that, an online betting operator was getting positive feedback from the mainstream media for the very first time and described the event as a potential matter. Nylander said, "In the long term this could be the starting point for a broader discussion in France as the man on the street and even journalists realize how outdated the attitude of the French authorities is."
Unibet captured the top headlines at the news stories this week. Nylander said that he thought the FDJ and PMU were fighting on the issue of protecting their monopoly status. He also added,” We want dialogue, not confrontation, and this could be catalyst for more open debate”.
Austrian publicly listed betting group Bwin also cut to the news headlines on this issue. Though this company have maintained a low profile and refused to make any further comment. The company declined to comment on the spreading news that it had signed a three year contact of Euro 25 million shirt sponsorship with Spanish football giant Real Madrid.
Though a Bwin spokesperson commented that once a contact is signed, an official announcement would be made. The spokesperson also said that Bwin was always eager to sign contact with European football giants. It is a fact to remember that, Bwin faced a hot confrontation with authorities last year regarding its shirt sponsorship of a Monaco football team.