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FIFA Launches Programme to Help Develop Women’s Football in Various Nations; Clubs’ Income Hit by $680 Million and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): FIFA launches programme to help develop women’s football for the 211 member associations | Football clubs’ oncome hit by $ 680 million, UEFA rebate to broadcasters | England's Mason Greenwood apologises for embarrassment caused by quarantine breach | Transfer market could shrink up to 30%, says ECA head Andrea Agnelli | Manchester City sign England right-back Lucy Bronze from Lyon.
FIFA programme to develop women's football

In addition to financial assistance, the FIFA Women’s Development Programme will also enable member associations access to women’s football experts, additional equipment and technical support within the world body.

In line with their Women’s Football Strategy FIFA launched a Women’s Development Programme with the aim of providing all 211 member associations with the opportunity to apply for and access more resources for the development of women’s football at the national level.

Member associations can apply for resources in the development of eight key areas of women’s football in a span of three years. In addition to financial assistance, the FIFA Women’s Development Programme will also enable access to women’s football experts, additional equipment and technical support within FIFA.

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In a statement, Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary-General, said: “FIFA’s commitment to supporting our member associations in developing women’s football remains one of our top priorities. In addition to the funding currently available via the Covid-19 Women’s Football Grant and the FIFA Forward Programme, the FIFA Women’s Football Development Programme will provide more support and assistance to member associations so that they can invest in the women’s game at all levels.”

UEFA’s Rebate to Broadcasters

With the cash crunch at many European football clubs set to get worse, clubs have been informed that UEFA is repaying €575 million ($680 million) to broadcasters because of the disrupted Champions League and Europa League season.

UEFA sales of broadcasting and sponsorship rights for the leagues was expected to generate a revenue of over €3.25 billion ($3.8 billion) annually in the upcoming 2020-21 season.

It was unclear if all the returned money will come from clubs’ share of revenues, or if UEFA would also lose expected income. European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli — who is also the owner of Juventus — said that they are in the process of finalizing the accounts with UEFA clubs were still in crisis management mode and the full picture would not be known until annual accounts begin to be published within weeks. He predicted some individual clubs would suffer bigger losses than an entire soccer confederation. 

The ECA previously predicted European clubs would see revenue drop by €4 billion ($4.7 billion) in the next two years in the fallout from the pandemic.

Greenwood Apologises

Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood has apologised for breaking quarantine protocols while on England duty in Iceland.

The 18-year-old, acknowledging his mistake says he has learnt his lesson, having been dropped from the squad for England’s Nations League match in Denmark, along with Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden. England played out a dour 0-0 raw against the Danes yesterday.

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England manager Gareth Southgate has not made a comment on the nature of the break in protocol but media reports said the pair left the biosecure bubble to meet two girls.

Both players will have to pay a fine of 250,000 Icelandic kronor (£1,350) to Reykjavik police and the Football Association (FA) said a probe is going to be launched into their conduct.

"Having now had the chance to reflect on what's happened, I can only apologise to everyone for the embarrassment I have caused," Greenwood said in a statement.

"It was irresponsible of me to break the Covid-19 protocols which are in place to protect players, staff and the public. In particular, I want to apologise to Gareth Southgate, for letting him down when he had shown great trust in me."

Transfer Market Could Shrink

The transfer market in Europe could shrink by 20%-30% in the pandemic due to the cash crunch faced by clubs in Europe, Andrea Agnelli, chairman of the ECA said in a speech to around 250 member clubs in an online assembly.

Agnelli said that all the clubs across the continents have been facing the loss of revenues from an array of broadcasters, gate receipts and sponsors because of the measures that are put in place to combat the virus.

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“This is going to be a dramatic (income) erosion for us which potentially will turn out to be a cash crisis for most clubs,” Agnelli, the president of Serie A champions Juventus, said.

Agnelli highlighted that the income drop was a knock down effect of having to play in empty stadiums, a revenue source for most clubs — the smaller ones more than any. Agnelli also predicted a drop in price when commercial deals such as shirt sponsorship are renewed.

City Sign Lucy Bronze 

Manchester City re-signed Champions League winner, and 2019 Ballon D’Or runner up Lucy Bronze on a two-year contract.

The 28-year-old won her third Champions League in a row with Lyon earlier this month and joined City in a free transfer.

Bronze was a crucial member of the Lyon side, adding speed and skill to the right wing back role for the team. Her return is a huge boost to City's hopes of making the Women’s Super League crown their own again, and will further their ambitions in Europe.

Bronze is City's fourth signing of the summer. The club has signed World Cup-winning American midfielders Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle.Former Arsenal and Everton forward Chloe Kelly has also joined them this summer.

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