The controversial £300m Saudi Arabia-funded takeover of Newcastle United appears to be in serious doubt after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled the country is behind a pirate satellite TV and online streaming service that offers illegal access to sporting events.
An exclusive by the Guardian revealed that an independent ruling firmly established that the Saudi government is behind BeoutQ. While the WTO’s 130-page final report will not be published until mid-June, it has revealed that the Premier League, which received the WTO report this month, made submissions against Saudi Arabia as part of the legal process.
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Saudi Arabia previously claimed BeoutQ originated in Cuba and Colombia, prompting both countries to issue firm denials. It later emerged that the channel was being broadcast from the Arabsat satellite, which is majority-owned by the Saudi state and has its headquarters in the country. BeoutQ has since been removed from Arabsat.
The development raises more questions about whether Newcastle’s mooted takeover – which would lead to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund taking an 80% stake in the club, with PCP Capital Partners and the property developers David and Simon Reuben taking 10% each – will pass the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test. Prospective owners fail the test if a crime committed overseas would also be one in the UK.
Indumathi Busy Enforcing Lockdown
Indian women’s footballer Indumathi Kathiresan has been busy fulfilling her duty as a police officer on the streets of Chennai during the lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis in the country.
“It has been a difficult situation for the entire country. But taking the necessary precautions is paramount to the safety of one and all,” Indumathi said. “We try to ensure that everybody is observing the guidelines and that nobody who does not need to be outside.”
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"In difficult times like these, you generally want to spend some time with your family, but I have not had many opportunities to do that,” said the Sub Inspector. “It is a call for the nation. I have to play for the nation every day during the Covid-19 pandemic, and I have to respond fast,” she added.
Indumathi has been out of action for about a year now after she led Sethu FC to their maiden Indian Women’s League title in the 2018-19 season. She was also dropped from the Indian senior team in August 2019. Curiously, Indumathi did not feature for Tamil Nadu at the Senior National last year because of a denial of permission from Tamil Nadu Police. Before that she was missing from national trials and the camp as well.
The last time she was in action was when she represented her department in the Tamil Nadu Women's League, which served as qualifier for the Indian Women's League 2019-20 final round.
Increased Injury Risk in Premier League
Research has found that Premier League players could be prone to a 25% increased risk of injury upon resumption of football. According to ‘Project Restart’s’ provisional return date of June 20th, there could be around 13 games played in 49 days by Manchester City and the increase in workload carries with it the potential for setbacks.
Research carried out by artificial intelligence platform Zone7 -- which works with 35 professional football teams globally and specialises in injury risk prediction -- indicated that playing eight matches in a period of 30 days can raise the injury rate by 25% as compared to the four to five matches played in the same timeline.
Although it may seem commonplace for eight matches to be played in a period of 30 days, there are only 4% of players subjected to such a run of games across a season.
Watford Manager Nigel Pearson and Newcastle boss Steve Bruce are concerned not only about the congestion of fixtures but also the time provided for teams to transition from individual physically distanced training to higher intensity group training.
Resumption of the Bundesligaon May 7 already saw eight players injured in six games on 16 May displaying a massive increase in injury rate.
Ramsdale Tests Positive
Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale described finding out he had coronavirus ‘scary and worrying”, especially when he showed no symptoms.
The England U-21 international was one of two players who tested positive from the second round of tests carried out by Premier League clubs, with an eye on returning to action next month.
“It’s definitely a shock – I’ve not been in contact with anybody and I’ve now got it,” Ramsdale said. “I’m showing no symptoms so the fact that a healthy young person could potentially have it is definitely scary and worrying.”
Ramsdale tested negative in the first round of testing and thinks he might have contracted the virus while he was out shopping.
A total of eight positive cases of coronavirus among players and staff have come out of the 1,744 tests that happened in the Premier League. Results from a third round of tests will be announced on Wednesday.
Free Tickets for Fans in Spain
La Liga clubs Espanyol and Leganés season-ticket holders will get free season passes for the 2020-2021 campaign to compensate for missing matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.
La Liga is expected to resume in June with 11 rounds of matches remaining but fans will not be allowed to attend the matches.
“Leganés will automatically renew all its season-ticket holders for the next season,” the club said. “Taking into account the implications that Covid-19 has brought to the country and specially the city of Leganés, the club wants to compensate its fans and season-ticket holders.”
With the two clubs struggling at the bottom of the table it is possible one or both could be a part of the second division next season.
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