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Real Madrid Unable to Display bwin Logo in Switzerland

16th September 2009 7:46 am GMT

While Swiss authorities continue to prohibit the advertising of betting within the country until current restrictions on online gaming are relaxed, Spanish football giant Real Madrid CF was last night forced to play its first EUFA Champions League group game against Switzerland's FC Zurich without its major shirt sponsor, bwin.com.

In a statement on the football club's site yesterday, Real Madrid said that it would not include any advertising on their shirt during the match against FC Zurich at Stadion Letzigrund.

"Advertising of betting is not authorised by Swiss authorities if not executed by governmental entities," read the statement. "Therefore and given that Switzerland is not bound to European Union legislation, Real Madrid in conjunction with bwin have decided not to endorse the brand 'bwin.com' on the team shirt during today's UCL match between FC Zurich and Real Madrid CF."

Real Madrid CF won the match 5-2.

With a growing number of football clubs, particularly in Spain and the UK, now having gaming operators as major shirt sponsors, this is just the latest example of how clubs must be wary of advertising only in those countries where gaming regulations allow.

Last month UEFA was forced to step in to grant French football club Olympique Lyonnais official permission to wear its BetClick-sponsored shirt for European matches outside of France until December, despite the club unable to display the name of their shirt sponsor in France until the new liberalisation of the French online gaming market next year.

Earlier this year the Swiss federal government said that it intends to relax current restriction on online gaming by introducing a limited number of licenses for online gaming operators, enabling them to legally offer a variety of games of chance via the Internet for the first time. Under the proposal marketing of unlicensed gaming sites will continue to be prohibited.

Legislation is currently being prepared which will then be submitted to parliament for approval.

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