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Italy's Euro 2020 win may add 12 bn euros to 2021 GDP

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Rome, July 15 (IANS) Italy’s victory in the UEFA Euro 2020 football championship final on Sunday is likely to add 0.7 percent to the country’s projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year, local economists have said.

This will certainly be welcome news for an economy struggling to emerge from a slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, reports Xinhua.

Italy’s dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout win over England earned the Italian side their first European title since 1968 and their first world title since their 2006 World Cup triumph.

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According to studies, the feat is also sparking new rounds of domestic spending and attracting investments from abroad as it has helped boost consumer confidence and improved the image of Italy and Italian products abroad. This boost may be temporary, analysts said, but is still significant.

All in all, the Italian national football team’s Euro 2020 victory is projected to “result in an extra 12 billion euros (US dollars 14.2 billion), or around an extra 0.7 percent growth in gross domestic product,” Simona Caricasulo, an economist specialises in sports-related topics at Rome’s LUISS University, said on Thursday. She said the impacts would be felt almost exclusively this year.

Coldiretti, Italy’s main agricultural union, predicted separately that the country’s exports would increase by ten percent as a result of the Euro 2020 victory, which the organisation said would cast Italy’s products in a new, positive light in foreign markets. This increase is comparable to that registered after Italy’s World Cup victory 15 years ago, Coldiretti said.

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This is much-needed good news for Italy, which saw its economy contract 8.9 percent last year amid the lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Italy’s economy was already projected by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) to rebound by 4.7 percent this year. The projected bump from the Euro 2020 victory, if it proves accurate, would come on top of that.

ISTAT is scheduled to release its updated estimate for this year’s economic growth in early August.

“It’s a clear advantage for a country to win a major sporting event like the European Championship, and this is true, albeit to different extents, for all major sports victories,” Simona said.

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“It doesn’t have to be the European Championship or the World Cup. It can be the Olympics, a tennis championship, skiing championship, almost any major event.”

But football victories have a particularly large impact in Italy, which has one of the largest football fan bases in the world. In the runup to the championship final, Italian news sites referred to the national football team as having the power to unite a country often split along geographic or political lines.

“When it comes to football, Serie A (the highest professional level of the Italian football championship) divides the country between the fans of the Rome teams, the Milan teams and those in Turin or Naples or wherever, and the impacts are localised,” Oliviero Fiorini, an economist and analyst with ABS Securities in Milan, said.

“But with the national team, everyone puts aside their differences for a while. That means the impacts reach much farther.”

–IANS

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