Red Card for Red Light Brothel Sponsors Italian Soccer Team

Some soccer teams have beer or computer companies as sponsors. But one Italian side has opted for support from a more creative source: It counts a local brothel among its sponsors.

The Italian fourth-division soccer team Trento Calcio 1921 has stepped into the reddish spotlight for having a sponsorship deal with an Austrian brothel.

The team, which is based in Trento in northern Italy, displayed the company Casa Bianca at the top of its list of sponsors, which also include local restaurants and an electrical goods retailer, on its official Web site. However visitors who clicked on Casa Bianca's innocuous white rose icon found themselves taken to a Web site for a brothel.

The Casa Bianca ("White House"), which has two establishments in Innsbruck and Hallein in Austria, describes itself as "the house of emotions," and a "sensuous place to get everything you want." Visitors to Casa Bianca pay €180 an hour for the services of the brothel's "beauties." Female escorts are displayed on the Web site by name, complete with explicit photos. The brothel reportedly paid the team €10,000 ($14,200) for the privilege of appearing on their site.

Iva Berasi, a member of Trento city council in charge of sports, was furious about the deal. "It's incredible that the (provincial) capital's team would accept a sponsor that would even give the impression that it profited from the sale of a woman's body," she told the local newspaper Trentino. "I believe that my feeling of being offended is the same one felt by the majority of women in Trento. I would hope that the team -- which also receives public funding -- would want to find a remedy for this situation as soon as possible."

By Wednesday, the team appeared to have found a compromise solution. The brothel's logo was still present on the team's list of sponsors -- but the link to the offending Web site had been disabled.


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