England women’s football players have made a collective donation to an initiative set up by Premier League players in support for Britain’s National Health Services (NHS) and other frontline staff in the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lionesses made this announcement in a joint statement on social media which said, “The squad have recognised the importance of the statement last week from the Premier League players with regards to setting up the #PlayersTogether fund and the potential impact it can make.”
Also Read| Fred Pugsley: The Anglo-Burmese Refugee Who Helped Shape the East Bengal-Mohun Bagan Rivalry
Professional football players in England established the fund following criticism for resisting calls made by the league to accept a 30% salary cut.
Ellie Orton, CEO of the NHS Charities Together, which represents over 140 NHS charities, thanked the England women’s team for their contribution.
“Hopefully it will inspire more fans to get behind the appeal and we can raise even more money to support NHS staff, volunteers and patients, and they’ll be thrilled to know the England players are right behind them,” Orton said.
Newcastle United Takeover
Amanda Staveley (Pic: Twitter).
A takeover at Newcastle United is on cards after new documents indicate that owner Mike Ashley entered into a charge agreement with financier Amanda Staveley, who is leading a bid which involves Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and UK based Reuben Brothers.
A 31-page charge agreement has been filed with the Companies House and has been signed by Amanda Staveley for her Dubai based company PCP Capital Partners suggesting a potential deal will be completed soon. The document also contains details of a £150m demand related to Staveley’s firm, PCB partners and also its prolonged legal case against the Barclay Bank PLC.
Ashley has not been among the most popular owners of a football club in England, and has been accused by fans of putting self interest before the club’s image. A classic example is their decision to furlough their non-playing staff, a decision that has received massive criticism. Unlike other teams that have reversed their decision to lay off staff, Newcastle have gone ahead with it.
East Bengal "battle ready" for ISL Plunge
East Bengal FC club management is keen to get the club into the ISL.
With the possibility of the I-League being cancelled this season, the East Bengal management awaits the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) decision to announce the fate of the competition. East Bengal have already written to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) demanding them to render the league invalid if it cannot be completed. They are second in the league with 23 points from 16 matches.
Also Read | BCCI Makes The Call: IPL 2020 Postponed Indefinitely
With the extension of the lockdown till May 3, the possibility of any kind of football action by next month seems very unlikely. Mohun Bagan have already won the league, with 39 points from 15 matches -- and no mathematical chance of anyone else catching them -- although an official coronation is yet to take place.
East Bengal, meanwhile, are excited and ready to grab any opportunity in current times that may give them an advantage in their bid to play the Indian Super League (ISL) next season.
“We have already started building up a strong team” senior club official Debabrata Sarkar said. “We are keeping many options open and are battle ready for any possibility. At the same time, we strongly believe that if Mohun Bagan can play in the ISL, we can do so too.”
UEFA-Led Talks on Football Restart
UEFA are set to host another round of talks with European football leaders next week in order to find a way to end the shutdown following the Covid-19 pandemic. European football’s governing body said the executive committee is set to join the meeting via video on April 23. This will be followed by separate calls with 55 member federations of UEFA, officials representing the clubs, leagues and player unions.
In order to stabilize European football’s economy, UEFA’s main priority is to complete the national league and cup competitions by trying to fulfill broadcasting contracts worth billions of dollars.
Read Also: Remaining I-League Matches Set To Be Cancelled
However, due to the undetermined certainties of the ongoing lockdown, the best case scenario for UEFA is the continuation of domestic games by July and August. Once domestic games are decided then this season’s Champion League and Europa League can resume.
As UEFA talks remain pending, the Belgium federation have announced that the meeting to be held on Wednesday for a decision to end the season will no longer take place.
The Belgian soccer body also added that an assembly will instead happen after the UEFA meeting.
Window for Women's Euros
UEFA 2021 Euro (Pic: UEFA.com)
Manchester United women’s manager Casey Stoney believes that there is no other choice but to postpone UEFA 2021 Euro until 2022 to accommodate the Olympics.
Playing the women's tournament alongside the men's in 2021 with Tokyo Olympics scheduled for the same year could be extremely problematic. In conversation with Sky Sports News, Casey Stoney said, “How are you going to organize an Olympic football tournament and the euros in the same year?
"That is an incredible physical and mental question from the players. I don't think it is physically possible. I prefer it to have its own space and I prefer that players don't play two tournaments in one summer."
Stoney also expressed concern about the strain this glut of fixtures could put on their league campaigns, packed in itself. England have already qualified for the final as a host but qualifications for the tournament are still ongoing.
Read more sports stories from Newsclick