For members


EXPLAINED: Why are Italians angry at streaming platform DAZN?

The latest controversy to affect Italy, eliciting reactions from everyone from football fans to politicians, involves the streaming platform DAZN. Here's what's going on.

EXPLAINED: Why are Italians angry at streaming platform DAZN?
Inter Milan's Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the Italian Serie A football match between Lecce and Inter on August 13, 2022. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

If you want to anger an Italian, one sure way is to take away their football games. This is exactly what happened on Sunday evening when the streaming platform DAZN logged users off just before the Serie A matches.

The bug couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The streaming platform has exclusive rights to the Italian first league, Serie A, and earlier this year announced a €29.99 monthly subscription and stricter rules limiting device access and blocking simultaneous viewing from different locations in an effort to curb “piracy”.

This is the first round of Serie A football matches since the new prices came in on DAZN. The championship is also coming back during the summer holidays when most Italians are home ready to watch their calcio, as Italians call soccer

READ ALSO: Italian word of the day: ‘Azzurro’

Many have complained that the new high prices come with a lousy service, with Sunday’s “blackout” only the most recent example. Users were given “emergency links” to log in, but many complained they could still not access the programme.

Politicians join the aggravation

Not only did the hashtag #DAZN go up the list of Italy’s trending topics (and it still holds a premium spot over there), but the dispute became political.

The country’s Democratic Party (PD) said: “tens of thousands of citizens have paid for a service in advance and now suffer with a shameful disservice, in almost all parts of Italy, for the problems with DAZN Italy”.

The party called on Agcom, the regulator and competition authority for the communication industries, and Serie A to intervene.

Politicians from all political spectrums have commented on the issue, including Carlo Calenda, Matteo Salvini (Lega), and Maurizio Gasparri (Forza Italia). Football players such as Daniele de Rossi and other Italian celebrities also complained about the lack of service.

READ ALSO: Home entertainment: a quick guide to video streaming, VPNs and audiobooks

On Sunday evening, the streaming service released a statement, later deleted, recognising the connection issues. “Some users are currently experiencing access issues on our platform. We are working hard to find a solution as soon as possible and apologise for the inconvenience.”, the company said.

What will happen now?

Most of the politicians said they would bring the problems to parliament or Italy’s communication regulator. The main issue is DAZN’s exclusivity rights to Italian football.

The problems will likely influence future decisions on who has the rights to show the games – with broadcaster Sky, which used to have broadcast rights to the matches, looking into getting back on the field.

Of course, nothing is certain yet, and at least for this season, DAZN will continue to transmit games to its subscribers.

One thing seems to be sure, though: If there is one issue that can unite all Italians, it is football.

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For members


What changes about life in Italy in September 2022

As the summer holidays wind down and schools start back up in September, Italy is also preparing for an unprecedented autumn general election.

What changes about life in Italy in September 2022

September is usually a relatively low-key month in Italy, as residents return from the beach and ease back into their usual routine.

But this year, as well as preparing for the rientro in September the country is gearing up to elect a new government before the end of the month.

The general election will be the main event on everyone’s horizon, but it’s far from the only thing happening. Here’s what to look out for in September.

General election

Italians will head to the polls on September 25th to vote for their next government in autumn general election.

The vote wasn’t due to take place until early 2023, but snap elections were called after Mario Draghi’s ‘unity’ coalition government collapsed in July.

READ ALSO: What election promises have Italy’s political parties made?

Campaigning is in full swing and all the main parties have released their election manifestos, which feature promises to lower taxes and axe VAT on basic goods.

A hard-right coalition led by the post-fascist Brothers of Italy is currently on track to win by a landslide.

Follow all the election news this month here.

Is Italy ready for election season, and a new government? – A campaign poster shows hard-right Brothers of Italy party leader Giorgia Meloni, who is likely to become the next prime minister. Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Energy-saving bill and fuel price cut

As September begins, the outgoing Italian government is working on an extended emergency aid package designed to further offset soaring energy costs.

With Russia’s war on Ukraine continuing to cause fuel prices to skyrocket, the government will reportedly announce further measures in the coming days aimed at offsetting some of these costs for the average consumer.

READ ALSO: Soaring energy prices push Italy’s inflation to 37-year high

The measures are expected to include further help for low-income households and an extension to an existing discount on fuel duties, which is currently in place until September 20th, though the value of the discount will drop from 30 to 25 cents.

The government is also preparing last-minute changes to a bill containing energy-saving measures, now being introduced months earlier than scheduled amid growing concerns about energy costs and security.

Back to school

Italy’s schoolchildren will be filing back into the classroom in September, with back-to-school dates ranging from September 5th to September 19th.

Italy’s schools are managed by regional authorities, so the return dates vary according to region. This year, these are:

September 5th: Bolzano, Trentino Alto Adige infants schools/kindergartens

September 12th: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige

September 14th: Calabria, Campania, Liguria, Le Marche, Molise, Puglia, Sardinia, Umbria

September 15th: Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio

September 19th: Sicily, Valle D’Aosta

New school Covid rules

Covid restrictions have been mostly phased out in Italy, but they will remain in place (on a very limited basis) in schools for the new academic year.

These include requirements for students with a positive Covid status or a fever to stay at home; for pupils or staff at “at risk of developing severe forms of Covid” to wear FFP2 masks; and vague stipulations that everyone should follow correct hand hygiene and “respiratory etiquette” and that schools should ensure “frequent air changes”.

Explained: What are Italy’s Covid rules for schools in September?

Most of the rules have been significantly relaxed: unvaccinated teachers will be allowed to return to the classroom to teach for the first time since December 2021, and a universal masking requirement that had been in place until the end of the 2022 academic year will be scrapped.

Masking requirements and vaccination rules will no longer be in place as Italy begins the new school year.
File photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Cut to Covid isolation period

As of September 1st, the mandatory isolation period for those who test positive for coronavirus and are symptomatic has been cut to five days from the previous seven.

Patients must test negative – via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test – at the end of that period, as well as being asymptomatic for two days.

READ ALSO: Italy cuts Covid isolation period as infection rate falls further

Should the patient continue to test positive, they must remain in isolation until they get a negative test result. The maximum length of the isolation period was however cut to 14 days, down from 21.

Public transport discount

A fuel discount isn’t the only cost-saving provision Italy’s government is implementing: from September, a ‘transport bonus’ (bonus trasporti) will be available to all pensioners, students, and employees with an Isee of up to €35,000.

The bonus takes the form of a one-time €60 discount to be used on the purchase of monthly or yearly tickets for local transport services.

The government will allocate a total of 101 million euros to funding the bonus; 22 million more than had originally been allocated to the scheme.

Autumn equinox

The autumn equinox – the moment when the sun is directly above the earth’s equator and day and night are of equal length – will fall on September 23rd this year.

It’s the date that’s considered to mark the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere, which in Italy means you can start to look forward to sagre harvest festivals and fairs all over the country.

Food festivals

September is famously an excellent time to be in Italy if you enjoy visiting the sagre, or local food festivals – and who doesn’t?

A month-long truffle sagra in Girone, Tuscany, a grape sagra in Giovo, Trentino, a porcini mushroom sagra in Rocca Priora, Lazio, and Made in Malga, a mountain cheeses sagra in Asiago, Veneto are just a few of the events you can enjoy this month.

See more of the food and drink festivals planned in Italy this September here.