The Coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately, has affected everyone, not only from the point of view of health and social behavior but also from the economic point of view. In some cases, however, the economic blow was a real “knockout hook”, which knocked out an entire sector.
In this Affaritaliani survey, which wants to give voice to the many sectors that are experiencing the same nightmare, we have heard Carlo Di Blasi, president of Fight 1, the national asd circuit registered with Csen, the first sports promotion body with over 2 million members. A large sector made up of gyms, swimming pools, and all the so-called ‘carpet’ sports.
Di Blasi is also the promoter of Oktagon, well-known Kickboxing event transmitted since 1996 by Rai to Mediaset and is the referent for Italy of One Championship, the largest Asian sports promotion of the same competitive discipline.
President, what is the current situation in your sector with the prolonged lockdown?
“The basic association sport sector to which I belong and which primarily belongs to the sports promotion bodies (EPS) he is exhausted. The sector I refer to is that of EPS which in 2019 counted 8 million members in 15 EPS. Against 4 million and 200,000 of the 45 FSN and 200,000 of the 20 DSAs.
EPS instructors and gym staff roam the 400,000 units.
The estimated loss to date in 2020 is 4 points of GDP but above all there has been a collapse of 60% of members.
Government grants of 420 million were distributed to EPS in the amount of 15 million out of a total of 420 million available to the total sports sector dedicated to FSN, DSA and EPS.
We are talking in summary of more than 8 million sportsmen divided into 15 EPS.The problem is mainly due to the fact that the gyms have been closed since last year for 8 months and more. They have been open for less than 5 months. However, only September and 3 weeks of October proved to be economically useful as the other summer months are normally less frequented. Result: very few revenues compared to fixed costs, which have remained so. If we add the problem of the reopening methods, which at the moment are onerous and limiting, the picture is devastating especially for the basic ASDs which are the great majority of our sector “.
How are you doing?
“The Italian gyms convened themselves last Tuesday in Rome and tried to make their voices heard everywhere in Italy in front of municipalities, regions and Montecitorio to testify to the profound discomfort of not feeling represented and therefore listened to. The Italian ASDs and SSDs (primarily gyms, swimming pools and dance schools) they have organized to take to the streets but having no tradition of protest or a trade union or corporation organization they are moving in a disjointed way and the result, up to now, has not been incisive. But the anger rises daily and is proportional to the accounts in the red ”.
What is one of the problems you hear most?
“The problem is above all one of representativeness. In fact sport, in theory, should be represented primarily by CONI. The organization is always ready to proclaim its imprimatur when it comes to sport reform but then it seems to be more involved in requesting an increase in managers, from the current 165 to the requested 240 ”.
Have there been any responses from Parliament?
“The answer came from Parliament which unexpectedly blocked an amendment to the DPCM that was expiring, calling for the reopening of gyms in the yellow zone. I state that gyms require such openings because, compared to any local and / or means of public transport, they are the only reality able to enforce the distancing being by nature disciplined sportsmen and using “ to obey by silent ” because substantially respectful of the hierarchical scale. They are the same young people who, perhaps, in the vicinity of clubs or outside schools behave differently. Now we expect that in the next DPCM the opening of the gyms in the yellow and white area will be allowed following the rules of September 2020, given that the gyms are already equipped with control and prevention systems and only need to be sanitized again “.
And a positive note in this deep black?
“At this point we are comforted by the recent appointment as Undersecretary for Sport of Valentina Vezzali, exponent of a historical combat sport such as fencing. and who ideally has all the numbers to really be the person to whom to entrust the future of the compartment. The incredible situation of “sport for all”, as the sport of EPS is defined, which, compared to CONI, does not have the Olympic mission, but aims to make “everyone play” is not only linked to a lower contribution institutional, although representing double numbers compared to FSN and DSA.
Above all, what is disconcerting is the different consideration of the sports department towards EPS which prohibits them from sporting events and training of agonists in the red zone, allowing it, instead, to members of the FSN and DSA.
A distortion that does not consider a sporting movement so broad, so widespread and treats practitioners of basic sports as children and stepchildren.
Now, fortunately, the arrival at last of a sportswoman in the right place immediately raised the spirits of all sportsmen both in the FSN and DSA and in the EPS, potentially making everyone agree “.
In any case, it seems to understand that unfortunately this pandemic, which is already making a natural selection of a whole business world, in the case of gyms and swimming pools in general is doing it even more and for a responsibility that is not only attributable to the Coronavirus , but due to the lack of foresight of the past government which wrongly considered the sector a virus diffuser.