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SBD Global/August 18, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

New Italy Coach Antonio Conte's Puma Deal Raises Conflict Of Interest Questions

Italy national football team coach Antonio Conte "will earn more than any other Italy coach before him thanks to a deal with kit sponsors Puma," sparking questions over a possible conflict of interest, according to the AFP. The former Juventus boss "was named the new coach of Italy on Thursday on a two-year contract," and will be paid €3.2M ($4.28M) a year -- with more than half coming from Puma. Conte "can also boost his earnings with bonuses linked to qualifying the team for the Euro 2016 finals as well as improving his team's world ranking, currently 14, to among the top eight." But Puma's role in securing Conte for the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) -- the first time any such deal has been made in Italy -- "has left many critics fearing the sponsor will wield too much power." La Repubblica's Maurizio Crosetti asked, "How will Conte deal with the players who have contracts with the same sponsor who is paying his salary? Who will have the final say when it comes to renewing a contract?" La Stampa's Stefano Semeraro warned that "sport has always been tied up with questions of ethics ... but this summer Italian football has had to deal with the interference, real or feared, of commercial interests" (AFP, 8/15).
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