By Tomás Frutos
Rome, Apr 1 (EFE).- Italy’s surprise defeat to North Macedonia not only cost the team a place in the World Cup for a second time running but it came with an eye-watering price tag of at least 10 million euros ($11.1m).
And that is just the sum of money Italy would have earned just for qualifying.
Since it claimed World Cup victory in 2006, Italy has generated the least amount of income among the heavyweight teams at just 16 million euros, far from the likes of Germany, Argentina and France.
Failure to make the cut for Qatar this year not only breaks Italian hearts, but it damages its brand image and sees indirect investment through sponsorships and other deals wane in value.
In 2018, Franco Carro, the former president of the Italian football federation, told Radio 24 that missing out on the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia cost the country around 1 billion euros, a sum that could be extrapolated to Qatar. Italy headed into the play-offs for Qatar as European champions and therefore one of the favorites.
In fact, Italy’s success in Euro 2020 marked a footballing comeback and was reflected in the country’s economy.
According to a study by Brand Finance, Italy’s national GDP was boosted by 4 billion euros in the short-term off the back of its European success in 2021. There was a similar ripple in the economy following Italy’s World Cup win in 2006.
But now the national team will not have the chance to play in a major competition until at least 2024, when Germany hosts the Euros or, on a global level, the 2026 World Cup.
The national team has been mired in a string of poor results since 2006. Italy’s Euro 2020 victory came as something of a surprise and fueled belief that the players had rediscovered their winning ways. Not quite, as it turns out.
After winning the World Cup, Italy cemented its place among Fifa’s top seven earning teams with Argentina, Spain, England, Brazil, Belgium and Germany, where it remains to this day.
In 2006, Italy received 24.5 million euros for winning the World Cup and 6 million for qualifying. In the 16 years since, the team has drummed up just 16 million, 8 million for qualifying in 2010 and another 8 million for qualifying in 2014, a campaign that ended disastrously in the group stages.
Sport brand Puma sponsors Italy’s official kit until this end of year, at which point Adidas will take over but these deals are also affected by the performances — or lack thereof — on the pitch.
What remains unknown is the number of sponsorship deals Italy would have cracked has it secured a place in Qatar. EFE