India has been awarded the hosting rights for the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022. India was recommended as the host by the AFC in February this year, and the confederation have now confirmed it. Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai are two venues likely to host the event. It is scheduled to begin in December 2022 and is expected to end in January 2023.
India’s bid was significantly boosted by the fact that they are hosts for the U17 Women’s World Cup -- postponed to February next year.
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The All India Football Federation (AIFF) declared they would pay a two-month stipend to players of FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to cover their dietary requirements while the training remains suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
AIFF in a statement said, “All India Football Federation has taken an initiative to support the dietary regime of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup probables by paying a stipend of Rs 10,000 per player for the months of June, and July, 2020.”
“The AIFF will take stock of the situation later as and when the preparatory camp in Goa can resume as per Government directives. With footballing activities staying suspended due to the Covid19 pandemic, all of the current U-17 World Cup probables are currently at their respective homes,” the statement added.
Indian Sides in AFC Club Competitions
In a statement on June 3, the AIFF said FC Goa, ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC will represent India at Asian Football Confederation club competitions in 2021.
“FC Goa as the winner of the ISL league phase for season 2019-20 is direct entrant in the group stage of AFC Champions League. ATK Mohun Bagan (after their agreement to form a joint venture) as a direct entrant in the group stage of AFC Cup on virtue of being winners of the I-League 2019-20,” the statement read.
"The AFC Cup play-off slot goes to Bengaluru FC who finished third in the ISL league phase in 2019-20. ATK, who finished runners-up in the league phase of the ISL 2019-20, as per their joint venture with Mohun Bagan, qualify automatically for the direct slot for the AFC Cup," the statement further said.
The decision is in stark contrast to their March announcement which declared that ISL playoffs winners would get the AFC Cup playoff spot. Chennaiyin would have availed of that spot according to the AIFF’s previous qualifications. However, the AFC preferred a standing league instead of playoff performance for the third spot.
Wigan Athletic Takeover
Championship club Wigan Athletic are officially under new ownership with the acceptance of a takeover bid by the Next Leader Fund -- a partnership headed by Hong Kong businessman Au Yeung Wai Kay. This will be their second change of ownership in two years.
"We can confirm that the sale of the majority shareholdings of the Wigan Athletic Group from International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) to Next Leader Fund LP has now been formally completed," a statement on the club's website said.
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"The transaction has been formally ratified and approved by the shareholders of IEC, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the EFL. Next Leader Fund LP is a limited partnership and Au Yeung Wai Kay is the General Partner of the limited partnership. Au Yeung has many years of experience in business operations management and business leadership in Asia.”
Wigan's executive chairman Darren Royal said the new owners ‘will enable’ the club ‘negate some of the immediate’ financial challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
In April The club’s first-team players and senior staff agreed to defer part of their wages for three months owing to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
Wigan are two points above relegation zone in the Championship and will hope to avoid the drop to League One when the Championship resumes on June 20.
Italian Football Federation Fund for Clubs
The Italian football federation is launching a fund of nearly $25 million to help clubs and members during the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Federation president Gabriele Gravina said that ‘it's an initiative which doesn't have precedents and represents a great assumption of responsibility which the [federation] is taking in favor of the whole soccer system.’
The fund consists of €21,700,000. It will give close to €5 million each to the two divisions below Serie A as well as the same amount to support clubs from the amateur football league. It will also give up to €3 million to footballers and the same amount to coaches and their staff. The fund will also provide €700,000 to help women’s football clubs.
The league and the country itself are also discussing plans to restore crowds to stadiums following the resumption of football.
Messi Misses Training Session
Lionel Messi’s presence in next week’s hugely anticipated La Liga return was questioned by some media outlets from Barcelona after he trained separately from the group.
Barcelona said there was no reason to worry about Messi, and that he was training under an alternative training program in the gym. Alternative theories though were aplenty.
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Catalan channel TV3 said Messi is suffering from a minor thigh muscle problem that could keep him from playing Barcelona’s June 13 match at Mallorca, the team’s first since the league was halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
TV3 said Messi underwent tests to determine the extent and severity of the injury. Barcelona did not say anything about Messi being tested. Thursday was a scheduled rest day for the club, and the squad will return to training on Friday to continue its preparations.
Messi missed almost two months of the season after hurting a calf muscle in the first pre-season training.
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