Lottery charity warns of sports funding cuts due to economic squeeze

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The Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML), a charitable organisation in Portugal that also runs the national lottery and off-course sports betting, has warned several sports federations in the country of the need for them to review their sponsorship plans, less than a year before the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, official sources have confirmed to Lusa.

The sports federations were warned through letters signed by the head of the SMCL, Ana Jorge, who took office on 2 May.

At stake, according to several of the missives to Olympic federations, which Lusa has seen, is the revision of the “sponsorship plan outlined for 2023” – with the SMCL also warning that sponsorship by the Jogos Santa Casa, organisation’s gambling arm, is for the most part not guaranteed beyond the contracts already in force.

The justification for this cut, the texts state, is related to “the current economic and social situation” that has brought “new social and financial demands to SCML with regard to the support of the most vulnerable populations.

“The financial impact associated with this new reality has forced SCML to rethink projects and strengthen responses to a growing demand for the services that Misericórdia de Lisboa provides,” one of the letters goes on. “Accompanied by a significant loss of revenue from the State’s social games, the current budgetary situation that the institution is going through cannot be ignored.”

Jorge, the letter states, is certain that the sporting entities “will understand” the “difficult decision for the reasons shown”, without excluding “a possible future reassessment of this situation if the reasons for the decision do not change.”

According to the Jogos Santa Casa official website, “Support for national sport, sporting talent and major national events remains one of the main aims of the Jogos Santa Casa, which have been pursuing a sponsorship strategy that transforms partnerships into concrete tools for integration and social cohesion.”

The site states that “sport is crucial in combating exclusion and discrimination, as well as in promoting a more egalitarian, inclusive and fair society. Reasons that have led to the growing positioning of the Jogos Santa Casa as the main sponsor and promoter of sport in Portugal, in a mission that has lasted for more than 10 years.

“The numbers leave no room for doubt and there are already many entities and sportsmen who have benefited from this support, with special emphasis on the work developed in the Olympic, Paralympic and Deaflympic path, without neglecting the development of adapted sport and the growth of women’s sport,” the website text continues.

Among the entities supported by the Jogos Santa Casa, according to the list published on its website, are the Olympic Committee of Portugal (COP), the Paralympic Committee of Portugal (CPP), the Confederation of Sport of Portugal (CDP), the federations of equestrian, motorcycling, handball, athletics, canoeing, cycling, football, gymnastics, judo, swimming, skating, rowing, rugby, surfing, table tennis, triathlon, volleyball and sport for people with disabilities.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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