football, gas and politics go hand in hand

football, gas and politics go hand in hand
football, gas and politics go hand in hand

Libyan football will benefit from contracts signed for gas exploitation.

With strong historical and political ties, Italy and Libya have always had business and sports exchanges. At the beginning of May, the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, went to Tripoli, then to Benghazi to meet her Libyan counterpart, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, then Marshal Haftar.

If the migration issue was the central aspect of this official visit, the large Italian delegation – made up of representatives from several ministries – took the opportunity to sign ” declarations of intent » in order to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries. In short, disburse funds in education, research, health or sport to further persuade the Libyan authorities to commit to toughening its policy (and its repression) against smugglers and migratory routes to the Italy.

Two gas fields at stake

A year earlier, on January 28, 2023, Meloni had already come to Tripoli to speak with the Libyan Prime Minister in order to attend the signing of a gigantic contract between ENI, the large Italian hydrocarbon company, and NOC, the Company Libyan oil company, for the exploitation of two gas fields.

This contract, described as “du first project developed in Libya since 2000 », is accompanied by a promise of 8 billion dollars of investment over the next three years. Already the leading Libyan gas operator, with an 80% stake, ENI thus strengthened its control and aimed to produce between 750 and 800 million cubic meters of gas per day », from 2026 according to its official press release.

Playoffs in Florence with Italian referees

With such issues at stake, the rapprochement between Libyan and Italian football appears quite logical. An agreement has been sealed to relocate the championship playoffs to Florence. The six best teams in the championship, to whom the visa was granted in record time, will arrive on June 24 and will begin the final stages on June 28 and 29. Italian referees will also officiate at each match.

The financial support for travel and other costs will be on behalf of ENI, sponsor of this event of very symbolic significance between the two countries.

Romain MOLINA

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