When France won the World Cup in 2018 following a thrilling 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final, many believed that it could kickstart another period of dominance for Les Blues on the international stage.
Ultimately, Didier Deschamps’ men couldn’t emulate the achievement of the 1998 World Cup winners, who subsequently won Euro 2000 to complete a rare and prestigious double.
However, there’s no doubt that France retains a young and talented squad that boasts incredible depth. Not only this, but the country’s innovative grassroots initiatives may also guarantee an ongoing supply of top players in the months and years to come.
How Sports Betting is Powering Grassroots Football in France
In recent times, it has become apparent just how reliant grassroots teams and academies are on sponsorship and government funding.
These funding sources have been slashed as various countries have sought to combat the various socioeconomic challenges, creating a potentially terminal loss of revenue and the widespread withdrawal of local and national sponsors at grassroots level.
According to a recent impact assessment from the French think tanks Sport & Citoyennete, the average loss per amateur French clubthrough 2020 was €10,210, which is a huge amount for nonprofit organisations that tend to have finite fiscal resources.
However, the French system is arguably blazing a trail for others to follow in combating this issue, thanks to the successful leveraging of sports betting revenues to help subsidise grassroots football.
Make no mistake; lottery games, online casino gameplay and sports betting revenues directly contribute to the budget of the National Sports Agency (ANS) in France, which means that this money funds local sports clubs and tournaments across the board.
In the wake of 202, some members of the French Parliament have suggested increasing the share of these sports levies that actually fund the sports agency, from the current level of 15% (the remainder of the revenue goes straight into the state budget).
Introducing #AuCoeurDuFootball and Similar Initiatives
A number of initiatives have also emerged within France’s sponsorship operation, with #AuCoeurDuFootball offering a relevant case in point.
Translating into #AtTheHeartOfFootball, this is a large-scale sponsorship operation that has recently enabled Unibet to fully equip 235 local French clubs, while providing 11,200 football kits to players over the course of the last two years alone.
In addition to providing much-needed financial relief, this initiative has shined a national spotlight on selected grassroots teams and organizations, proudly displaying their professional kits on social media.
Moreover, the clubs are highlighted on Unibet’s social channels, as well as being included in various campaigns that build further awareness, generate interest and create additional opportunities to earn revenue.
This type of scheme is breathing life into the grassroots system in France, providing much-needing funding and focus in the wake of a potentially devastating global pandemic.
This may afford France a critical advantage over its rivals in the near and medium-term, as it optimises the number of talented youngsters who are able to progress through the ranks during challenging economic times.