Sport For Members

When do you need a medical certificate to play sport in Italy?

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
When do you need a medical certificate to play sport in Italy?
Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP.

If you want to join a sports club in Italy or sign up for a gym membership, you may be surprised when the receptionist asks you for a doctor's certificate.


Legally, you don’t necessarily need one to practise a sport at an amateur level - you definitely don’t need one for a kickabout with friends at the park, or for a swim at most pools, for example. 

On the other hand, it may be a requirement of any club you wish to join, or in order to get a licence from the sports body (federation) to which it belongs.

Additionally, Italy has a tangle of laws and official guidelines that regulate sporting activities, meaning you may legally need a medical certificate even if you're just signing up for membership of an amateur sports club.

Italy's health ministry currently recognises three categories of sporting activity: competitive, non-competitive, and 'amateur recreational motor activities' (attività ludico motoria-amatoriale). 

The latter, which might include swimming in your local pool or going to the gym, doesn't legally require any kind of medical certificate. However, your local sports facility may require one regardless.

Non-competitive sporting activities (attività sportive non-agonistiche) that do legally require a medical certificate under Italian law include:

  • Students undertaking extra-curricular sports activities organised by their school.
  • Those who play sports at clubs affiliated with the national sports federations and sports promotion bodies recognised by Italy's Olympics Committee (CONI), but are not considered competitive athletes.
  • Those participating in student sports games leading up to the national stages.

In these situations, a certificate is mandatory for anyone over the age of six. It's valid for one year, and in most cases requires a fee of around 30-60 even if you're going through Italy's national health system (SSN); however this is waived for students participating in school-related sports activities and events.


You can claim the cost of the certificate back as part of your general medical expenses in your annual tax return.

Competitive sporting activities (attività sportive agonistiche) always legally require a medical certificate. These include all sports activities carried out on a systematic and continuous basis, organised by CONI-recognised national sports federations or sports promotion bodies.

Again, in this case the certificate is also valid for one year from the date it was issued.

Where can you get the certificate?

Doctors approved by Italy's health ministry to issue the certificate include:

  • Your registered GP
  • A paediatrician of your choosing, for parents organising the check up for their children.
  • A registered sports medicine specialist or a doctor employed by CONI's Italian Sports Medical Federation.

You'll usually be asked to present written request from the sports federation or school through which you're applying for the certificate, though a private individual can request the certificate on their own behalf from a sports medicine specialist.


Because healthcare is managed at the regional level in Italy, you must book your appointment with a doctor based in the region where you are officially resident except in exceptional circumstances.


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