Fight against piracy, piracy is a crime. Stefano Agresti’s comment

Watching matches without paying a euro to the rights holder is a widespread crime. The unanimous vote on the bill helps television and companies, but the fight must go on

They are millions. Even five, according to estimates. Five million Italians who watch football on television without paying a euro to those who own the rights. They call them pirates: they sit down, turn on the TV, enjoy the free games (or almost). The little money they pay – a few tens of euros a year – ends up in the pockets of the underworld, which in recent years has built part of its fortune around the “pezzotto”, the infamous tool used to hack sites authorized to broadcast meetings football, sporting events, even movies. Pirates commit a crime, yet to many of them everything seems terribly normal, so much so that they often brag about it: but how, do you still pay your subscriptions? And never mind if these violations cause the television broadcasters that hold the TV rights to lose 1.7 billion a year and 300 million to Serie A, put almost ten thousand jobs at risk and, at the same time, bring rivers of money into the coffers of mafias. Many viewers lightly cross the line between cunning and crime: what will a slicker ever be?


Finally something is changing. The House has approved the bill that should represent the turning point in the fight against piracy; now the same must happen in the Senate, but the road seems to have been traced. Yes, because the vote in favor of the bill was unanimous. A clear and clear signal, the entire Parliament has become aware of the seriousness of the situation: everyone agrees, for once. Harsher penalties are envisaged for those who organize the illegal dissemination of encrypted events and also for those who benefit from it, furthermore AgCom will be allowed to immediately interrupt the transmission of tenders by unauthorized operators (everything will be blocked within half an hour, as opposed to what is happening now). Relevant, binding measures, which should represent a decisive deterrent and eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, piracy.


The League and broadcasters are confident that the final approval of the bill will trigger a virtuous mechanism, leading to an increase in subscriptions for watching football. Now there must be no braking. De Siervo, CEO of Serie A, hopes that the law will come into force quickly so that investors interested in the rights of our football – in Italy and abroad – can make offers that they would not make if the broadcasting of matches were not protected . Certainly Italian football today has valid reasons to hope to sell its product at higher figures also on the international market, exploited in an extraordinary way by the Premier and decisive for determining the economic supremacy of English clubs in the last few decades. The results of our teams in Europe – they are the absolute protagonists, with six teams still in the running in the cups – are joined by the approval of the anti-piracy law. Small, big signs of the Renaissance that certainly go beyond our borders.


The message that Parliament has given to football and sport is comforting. This, however, must be only one of the moves to achieve the recovery of our movement. There are others to do, equally relevant: facilitating the construction of proprietary stadiums, which continues to be too tiring, long, full of obstacles; support the candidacy for the organization of the 2032 European Championship, an event which would give the opportunity to make further progress also in terms of infrastructure. A step has been taken, the important thing is not to stop.