A report from the online shopping platform lovethesales suggests that the absence of fans from stadiums in England due to the coronavirus pandemic has had a ripple effect on replica kit sales.
Data from the reports shows that sales of replica shirts worn by supporters in stadiums, pubs and even on holidays has witnessed a 63 percent drop in online searches in the past one year.
The website stated that an estimated amount of £23.9 million ($30.85 million) were spent by UK supporters last season but since the fans are watching matches from home, there is a chance that top flight sides might suffer a £15 million ($19.2 Million) loss from sales.
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“It’s no secret that big money signings, pre-season tours and fans at games have a huge impact on August shirt sales for English clubs,” Stuart McClure, co-founder of lovethesales.com said. “Without the last two factors in 2020, demand across the board for English football kits has dropped by 63% year on year.”
“Football teams must adapt to the new normal, and reach out to supporters through online channels, to keep fans invested in their clubs and merchandise.”
Everton New Stadium Objections
Historic England, a heritage body acting on behalf of Unesco, has faced a lot of backlash for objecting to Everton’s new stadium plans.
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Last week, Everton submitted a planning application for the 52,888 capacity stadium at Liverpool’s waterfront after getting feedback from Liverpool city council and other statutory consultees. However, Historic England objected to the new stadium plan — specifically against the Grade II listed dock being filled in — and wanted the project to be called in by the government.
The objections have prompted fierce condemnation from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which claims the city’s world heritage status will do more harm than good should it be used against Everton’s scheme.
“Unnecessarily delaying a £1bn mega-project such as this – which will support constructions sectors and related trades in the coming years and will create 15,000 jobs – would be a huge mistake at a time when we’re facing rising unemployment, with this a material economic intervention in the city region,” Henri Murison, the director of the partnership said.
“Historic England reading of the requirements of the World Heritage Status – which has already served its purpose in establishing its visitor brand – shows the time may have come when its disadvantages for the city outweigh any residual benefits it brings,” he said.
“In reality, the power of such a scheme can prove transformative in unlocking the true economic potential of Liverpool and the north in the short and long term. Projects like this represent a critical example of the role forward-thinking organisations like Everton and their wider partners can play in investing in local communities and building back better, one step at a time closing the north-south divide,” he added.
Fans at Select EFL Games
The English Football League (EFL) has revealed that having successfully sought the government’s approval, up to 1,000 fans will be allowed in stadiums during matches this weekend.
Later this week, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden will meet sport authorities to discuss the return of fans in stadiums from October 1. The EFL has stressed on the importance of pilot events, for the safe return of fans, further adding that the people located in lockdown areas will not be permitted to participate in the test events.
"We cannot guarantee at this stage that all clubs that would like to stage a pilot will be given permission to do so, as only a limited number will be approved,” the EFL's head of policy, John Nagle, said in a letter to clubs."We are still in discussions with regard to pilot matches on other dates."
Lineker Takes 25% Pay Cut
Match of the day host, and respected analyst, Gary Lineker has agreed to take a 25% pay cut so he can retain the position on the show for the next five years. Interestingly he has also agreed that he will tweet more carefully when it comes to pushing political issues.
Last year marked the former Everton striker’s 20th year as host of Match of the Day, which means that his new contract will comfortably carry him to 25 years at the helm of the programme. He will become now the longest-running host in the show’s 56-year history and has gone past Des Lynam who hosted the show till 1999.
Tim Davie, the new BBC director-general, made the announcement at the launch of its corporation annual report and said there will be new social media guidelines that have to be followed by the staff. “Gary knows that he has responsibilities to the BBC in terms of his use of social media,” said Davie.
Linekar has faced a lot of criticism by rightwing media outlets for criticising the government and Brexit.
Davie also insisted that the decision to reinstate the lyrics to ‘Rule Britannia’ at the Last Night of the Proms (an annual classical music concert held in the Royal Albert Hall and broadcasted on the BBC) was not because of pressure from right-wing media outlets and the government.
“That was a decision that I took with the input of others but it was a BBC decision. Judge me by my actions. The BBC is an independent impartial broadcaster, we have a strong editorial view. We’re definitely not going to be caving in to external pressure.”
Villas-Boas Defends Gonzalez
Marseille head coach Andre Villas-Boas, defended his player Alvaro Gonzalez after the Spaniard was accused of racism against Neymar in a bad-tempered Le Classique played over the weekend.
Paris St-Germain forward Neymar was one of five players who was red carded Sunday's Ligue 1 match for hitting Gonzalez, in the midst of a huge scuffle right at the end of the game.
Neymar accused Gonzalez of racism, and the club said they would "strongly support" the Brazilian. Backing his player, Villas-Boas said that he was “sure that Alvaro is not racist.”
"Marseille and PSG are here to help find the truth about this controversy. I am behind my player."
Neymar, Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa, plus the Marseille pair of Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto, were all sent off because for the trouble created on the field in the final few minutes of the game.
Neymar then informed the fourth official that he was racially abused by Gonzalez and later wrote, "Insulting and bringing racism into our lives no, I don't agree. I don't respect you, you have no character." Gonzalez has denied racism and called Neymar a bad loser.
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