Streaming service DAZN to refund Italian customers over Serie A blackouts

Sports entertainment streaming service DAZN told Italy's government on Tuesday it would issue partial refunds to viewers after a string of recent service interruptions enraged Italian football fans.

Streaming service DAZN to refund Italian customers over Serie A blackouts
The DAZN streaming platform has exclusive rights to Italian Serie A matches but has become known for frequent service interruptions. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

London-based DAZN bosses on Tuesday pledged to refund a quarter of the cost of monthly subscriptions after being summoned by Italian government ministers and Serie A executives last week to explain “countless” interruptions to the service.

The most recent blackout deprived fans of several minutes of the Serie A match between Inter Milan and Napoli on Wednesday night, provoking a barrage of angry complaints on social media.

READ ALSO: Why are Italians angry at streaming platform DAZN?

Italian consumer groups last week said customers were “fed up with the under-par service from DAZN” after a string of similar service interruptions, particularly considering repeated hikes in subscription fees for the service.

Business and Made in Italy Minister Adolfo Urso on Tuesday said the promised refunds were “only fair” and added that the company had promised further investments “to prevent the recurrence of these inefficiencies”, Italian media reported.

The company also said it would create a monitoring centre in Italy to tackle technical issues that have long plagued its service.

Politicians from across the political spectrum have complained about interruptions to matches, as have football players including Daniele de Rossi and other Italian celebrities.

The streaming platform has exclusive rights to Italian Serie A matches, and in 2022 increased the monthly subscription price to €29.99 and introduced stricter rules limiting device access and blocking simultaneous viewing from different locations in an effort to curb “piracy”.

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Champions League: Eight arrested after fans clash with police in Naples

Smoke bombs, flares, chairs, bottles and metal poles were thrown at police in Naples' historic centre on Wednesday, as Eintracht Frankfurt fans descended on the city despite a ban.

Champions League: Eight arrested after fans clash with police in Naples

Three German football fans and five Italians were arrested following violence in Naples before and after Napoli’s Champions League win over Eintracht Frankfurt, a local official said on Thursday.

Six police officers were injured in violence on Wednesday evening, according to Alessandro Giuliano, who is responsible for public safety in Naples.

Police were in the process of identifying 470 German fans who arrived in the city, and were scouring images to establish those responsible for the disorder, he told a press conference.

Dozens of supporters of Atalanta also joined forces with supporters of the German side, with whom they are twinned.

The first clashes occurred on Wednesday afternoon in Naples’ historic centre, and continued after the match, an easy 3-0 win for Napoli which took them through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.

Smoke bombs and flares, chairs, bottles and metal poles were thrown at police, who responded with tear gas. Later, Napoli fans were filmed by Italian media throwing objects at buses carrying Eintracht fans.

Naples mayor Gaetano Manfredi condemned the “unacceptable” violence, while opposition politicians have questioned the government’s handling of the situation, notably by Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi.

Napoli player Juan Jesus said the disorder was “bad for the city, and bad for football”.

“Because people come, then destroy, then leave, it’s not a good thing. It’s not possible to still see this in 2023, we are sorry to see these scenes,” he said.

The German supporters had travelled to southern Italy, with many arriving in Naples by train, even though Eintracht decided against selling tickets for the away section in Naples for the second leg of the last 16 tie.

Eintracht Frankfurt fans clash with anti-riot police after arriving in Naples despite not having tickets for their team’s Champions League decider with Napoli. (Photo by Ciro FUSCO / ANSA / AFP)

The Frankfurt club decided not to take up their allocation after the Naples prefecture decided on Sunday to ban residents of the German city from buying tickets.

A earlier Italian ban on Eintracht fans who lived anywhere in Germany was overturned.

Sunday’s decision came after violence in the first leg that was won 2-0 by Napoli in Frankfurt, which led to nine people being taken into custody.

Eintracht fans have been under close surveillance by European governing body UEFA since the pitch invasion which greeted the club reaching the final of the Europa League, which they won by beating Scottish club Rangers.