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Football to Lose $14 Billion This Year, Says FIFA; East Bengal Confirms Submission of ISL Bid and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Coronavirus pandemic to cost football $14 billion this year, says FIFA | East Bengal submit bid paper, inch closer to joining Indian Super League (ISL) | Macclesfield Town FC face extinction after being wound up following debts of over £500,000 | Spanish clubs suffer as broadcasters fight with fans | Vitality sign biggest sponsorship deal in history of the Women's FA Cup.
FIFA report says football to loss billions this year

(Representational image) FIFA clarified that the $14 billion loss was predicated on the current state with the resumptions of games, halted in view of the pandemic (Pic: Pinterest, Omair Mustafa).

A FIFA official has publicly declared that football might lose $14 billion this year worldwide — a quarter of its value — due to a financial crunch caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Olie Rehn, the head of the FIFA committee  also clarified that the $14 billion was predicated on the current state with the resumptions of games, halted in view of the pandemic. 

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“Football has been hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic,” Rehn, a former EU commissioner and now governor of the Bank of Finland, told Reuters television. “It has created plenty of turmoil at different levels with some professional clubs facing very serious difficulties. I'm also very concerned about youth academies and lower division clubs.”

Rehn also said that football in South America was also severely affected and also voiced his concern over the impact in Asia and Africa as well. 

“It is a real danger that the good work that has been done developing football in Asia and Africa could be ruined, so we want to soften the blow and maintain the development that has been done,” he said.

East Bengal Submit ISL Bid

East Bengal, yesterday,confirmed their submission of the Invitation to Bid (ITD) documents to Indian Super League (ISL) organisers Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) to join the league next season. 

The confirmation was made by the club via Twitter, “We are happy to announce that the consortium of Shree Cement Ltd and East Bengal club has placed the bid to participate in this year’s ISL,” The club tweeted.  

Shree Cement, which has an annual turnover of over  Rs 12,000 crore signed a letter of intent to acquire 76 percent stake in East Bengal in the presence of the chief minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee, clearing the way for the club to enter ISL.

Clubs from six cities- Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Ludhiana, Siliguri and Bhopal were invited to participate in ISL by FSDL earlier this month.

The Announcement of East Bengal as the 11th team of the seventh edition of the ISL is expected next week by FSDL. 

Macclesfield Face Extinction

The 146-year-old institution of Macclesfield Town FC was wound up by a judge at a virtual hearing in the specialist insolvency and companies court yesterday, after being found in debt of more than £500,000. The club was founded in 1874 and recently dropped into the National League.

The court was informed that the club owed nearly £190,000. Two other creditors were owed more than £170,000 each. That included  John Askey, the club’s former manager. Askey led the Silkmen to promotion back to the Football League at the end of the 2017-18 season before leaving Macclesfield to join Shrewsbury.

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Macclesfield were relegated from League Two into the National League — the fifth tier of the English Football League (EFL) — after being docked 17 points in total for breaches of regulations relating to non-payment of wages, which dropped them to the bottom of League Two.

The judge — pronouncing judgement to lawyers representing HM Revenue and Customs who for a winding-up order — said he could see nothing which gave him “any comfort” that the club can pay the debts. Judge Sebastian Prentis refused a request by the club’s owner, Amar Alkadhi, asking for a further eight-week adjournment so that a takeover could be completed.

Spanish Fixture Uncertainty

Clubs in Spain still do not not know when this week’s La Liga matches will be played, a week after last week’s games were held up because of a conflict over scheduling. A power struggle between the games power institutions has added the uncertainty of the restart.

Getafe are scheduled to face Osasuna tomorrow but the match is close to being postponed due to the Spanish soccer federation's ban on matches being played on Fridays and Mondays. The ban also threatens Real Betis' game with Real Valladolid, scheduled for Monday.

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Organising body La Liga, responsible for compiling the fixtures, chose to ignore the ban when compiling the first two rounds of fixtures for the new season, scheduling Granada's game with Athletic Bilbao as the season opener last Friday.

But less than 48 hours before that match was due to be played, a federation judge ruled it could not take place on Friday and the fixture was pushed back to Saturday, wrecking Athletic's travel plans and harming both teams' preparations.

"It's surprising that less than 48 hours before we didn't know when we were playing," said 

La Liga. The governing body also called the federation's stance "nonsensical" and rather than moving the matches to Saturday and Sunday for the second round of fixtures, lodged an appeal to the government's department for sport, with a decision expected late on Wednesday.

The squabbling over scheduling is one of several battlegrounds in a long-running war between La Liga president Javier Tebas and federation chief Luis Rubiales. Tebas has repeatedly spoken of the need to play matches on Fridays and Mondays in order to satisfy broadcasters, while Rubiales has said holding matches on working days is unfair on supporters wishing to attend games. It is, in essence, a battle between the lifeblood of the sport — fans in stadiums — and the financial power that makes it great, the money of TV.

Vitality’s Record Deal With Women’s FA Cup

English women's top flight football has received a boost in the arm amidst the alarming economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic when Vitality announced a groundbreaking three-year deal to sponsor the Women’s FA Cup.

“It’s a significant investment,” Kelly Simmons, the Football Association’s (FA) director of the women’s professional game said. “It demonstrates the power of women’s football.”

There had been concerns that the FA might have found it hard to identify a new sponsor for the competition after a previous agreement with the energy company SSE reached the end of its four year term. The tie-up, according with Vitality, The Guardian is understood to be the most lucrative in the FA Cup’s history.

The sponsors take charge  in a season which will, uniquely, feature two FA Cup finals. While the delayed 2019-20 final is scheduled to take place on 1 November at Wembley — from where it will be broadcast on BBC One — the denouement of the 2020-21 edition is also set for the national stadium next May. 

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