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Newcastle United Takeover: beIN Sports & Amnesty Raise Red Flags, Kerala Blasters Part Ways With Head Coach Eelco Schattorie and More (Football Round-up)

beIN Sports and Amnesty raise red flags over Newcastle United takeover by Saudi back consortium | Kerala Blasters part ways with head coach Eelco Schattorie | WHO recommends suspension of football for 18 months to avoid second wave of Covid-19 | La Liga clubs agree to donate $217 million to other sports

And lower league football | Spanish footballers against plans for training camps.
Newcastle United’s outgoing owner Mike Ashley was the subject of huge criticism from his own fans who accused him of putting his business ventures ahead of the club.

Newcastle United’s outgoing owner Mike Ashley was the subject of huge criticism from his own fans who accused him of putting his business ventures ahead of the club.

Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports has reportedly asked Premier League clubs to block the proposed takeover of Newcastle United.

The deal will see the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia acquire an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle, owned by retail entrepreneur Mike Ashley for the past 13 years.

Yousef al-Obaidly, the chief executive of the Qatar-based TV giant beIN Sport has written to the chairman of top-flight clubs about the deal which could see Newcastle being bought by the Saudi-backed consortium. 

In the letter Al-Obaidly, blames the Saudi Arabian government of the "facilitation of the near three-year theft of the Premier League's commercial rights - and in turn your club's commercial revenues - through its backing of the huge-scale beoutQ pirate service".

"It is no exaggeration to say that the future economic model of football is at stake," added Al-Obaidly, who also wrote to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.

Amnesty International meanwhile has written to the Premier League saying it “risks becoming a patsy” unless it takes a serious look at Saudi Arabia’s human rights record before sanctioning Newcastle United’s £300m takeover. 

In a letter to the Premier League’s chief executive, Amnesty UK’s director, Kate Allen said, “So long as these questions [concerning Saudi Arabia’s human rights record] remain unaddressed, the Premier League is putting itself at risk of becoming a patsy of those who want to use the glamour and prestige of Premier League football to cover up actions that are deeply immoral, in breach of international law and at odds with the values of the Premier League and the global footballing community.”

Indian Football’s Clarity At the Top Must Not Distract Us From Problems At the Grassroots

Kerala Blasters part ways with Eelco Schattorie, appoint Kibu Vicuna

Kerala Blasters parted ways with Dutch manager Eelco Schattorie after his one year club contract with the club expired. After performing poorly in ISL 2019-20 season, the Kochi-based club finished seventh with just 19 points from the games and won only four games along the way. 

"Kerala Blasters FC have parted ways with the Head Coach, Eelco Schattorie. We'd like to thank Eelco for his efforts and services during his tenure and wish him the best for the future," the club said in a statement via Twitter on Wednesday. 

Rumors over Schattorie’s contract not being renewed have circulated for over a month now and the statement has now confirmed it. Kibu Vicuna, who was linked with the top job has officially been announced as the new head coach.Vicuna managed Mohun Bagan, this season and was lauded for his tactical nous and ability to marshall the team. Bagan were crowned I-League champions officially yesterday, having sealed the title a week before the country went into lockdown. Despite that, the merger between Mohun Bagan and ATK had put Vicuna’s job under the spotlight, with the new franchise keen to keep Antonio Lopez Habas, the current ATK coach in place. Habas, it must be remembered that Habas also took ATK to the ISL title this season -- his second with the club.

Read Also| ATP, WTA, ITF, Grand Slams Planning Financial Aid Package For Lower Ranked Players Amidst Cancellation Of Tournaments

WHO advice suspension of football for 18 months to avoid second wave

According to Italian paper La Repubblica, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reportedly demanded the suspension of football until the end of next season to prevent a second wave of Covid-19. The pandemic has massively disrupted the football calendar with the suspensions of the Premier League, La Liga along and cast doubts over the resumption of Serie A. 

It has been reported that the WHO put forward the idea during a conference call with UEFA and is understood to have asked that all matches remain canceled for the next 18 months. 

Reports suggest the conversation between WHO and UEFA was supposed to last for an hour but instead, it lasted two and a half hours with WHO making a strong case about considering the possibility of axing football for at least 18 months. Concerned about the second wave of the pandemic, WHO is considering all possible scenarios.

UEFA, however, has denied that the WHO recommended suspension of the entire 2020/21 season.A number of clubs could get financially crippled if there was a lengthy suspension of the games due to the lack of matchday income. 

Also Read| AIFF Approves League Committee Recommendations; Remaining I-League Games Cancelled, Real Kashmir FC Distributes Essential Equipment to Fight Covid-19 and More (Football Round-up)

La Liga clubs agree to donate $217 million to other sports

Clubs in the top two divisions clubs in Spain have agreed to give an additional $217 million for the next four years in order to boost Spanish sport and lower league football. 

La Liga has donated 1% of its revenue to Spain's sports ministry after it signed a collective broadcasting rights deal in 2015. As part of the new agreement, that figure has now increased to 2.5% while it has also doubled its funding to the national soccer federation (RFEF) from 1% to 2%.

“This agreement looks to help sport not just in these moments of crisis provoked by Covid-19 but forever,” a statement released by the league’s organising body said. “This is a structural measure with no time limit which will strengthen the commitment of the professional clubs and La Liga with Spanish sport.”

La Liga has also agreed to contribute $3.5 million per season for the next three seasons to an emergency fund to help non-professional players.

The agreement came after an eight-hour meeting between La Liga president Javier Tebas and RFEF chief Luis Rubiales, who have a contentious history, and have often disputed over how Spanish football should be run. The sports minister Irene Lozano was also part of the discussions.

Also Read| Footballers Report Sharp Rise in Depression Symptoms; Leagues Ready to Play Behind Closed Doors, says UEFA President and More (Football Round-up)

Spanish footballers against plans for training camps 

The Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) have said leading Spanish club players are deeply worried about returning to work in between the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and are in opposition to La Liga’s plans to hold close training camps. 

All 42 team captains in La Liga and Spanish football’s second division held a video meeting with AFE to discuss the conditions for returning to work. 

Although there have been no dates set for the training or matches to resume, both La Liga and Spanish football federation have committed to try completing the season. 

According to the AFE spokesman, the captains emphasized on their opposition to closed training camps during the meeting, concluding that players would be informing the government’s department for sport and the health ministry of their concerns about returning to action.

“The players have shown their utmost concern for the situation society is experiencing at the moment and in particular about the health conditions they will find themselves in when they return to normal activity,” he added.

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