After several failed attempts and trials to get sports spectators and fans into the stadium, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally announced yesterday in a virtual statement that fans will be able to return to football stadiums as from December 2nd.
Premier League and football league matches have been played behind closed doors since the outbreak of the virus in March.
Spectators were scheduled to return to stadiums from 1st October, but the sudden increase of infections in Europe led to the UK’s second major lockdown which was put in place on November 5.
The results of matches being played behind closed doors led to a major hit in the matchday revenues, which makes up a big part in the overall revenue of the clubs in England. This had a major impact on the revenues’ of clubs where they were hit with big debts.
“In tiers 1 and 2, spectators of sports and business events would be free to resume inside and outside with capacity limits and social distancing,” Johnson announced in a virtual statement.
However, the Prime Minister did not confirm the capacity limits or percentages of the fans to be allowed, but the UK Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, later outlined on Twitter that 4,000 spectators or 50% capacity limits, whichever is the lowest would be placed in tier-1, dropping to 2,000 or 50 per cent for indoor venues, while in tier-2, it will be 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors, or 50 per cent capacity.
The Premier League welcomed this development and released a statement saying: “Fans have been greatly missed at Premier League matches and therefore we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today regarding the return of supporters for the first time since March, albeit at small numbers.
“Our ambition remains to work with Government to increase attendance to more substantial levels. Until this can be done, many fans will be unable to attend games and our clubs will continue to operate matches at a financial loss.
“Premier League clubs have a proven track record of achieving high-biosecurity standards and we believe we can play a significant role in the Government’s rapid turnaround testing initiative.”
“We look forward to working with Government on their next steps.”
However, news reaching us this evening is that Premier League fans will NOT be allowed to sing, shout or drink alcohol when they can finally return to the stadiums. It is not confirmed yet, but we will keep you updated.
Football: Southampton announces £76.1m loss for 2019/20 financial results
Premiere League side, Southampton FC has revealed a UK£76.1m loss in Covid-hit 2019/20 financial results.
English Premier League club, Southampton Football Club, has reported a net loss of £76.1million for the fiscal year of 2019/20 ending in June 2020, due to the significant impact of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Key highlights of its FY 2019/20
- Southampton FC incorporated by St Mary’s Football Group Ltd, posted a decrease in the overall revenue down to £126.6m which represents a nosedive of £23m compared to £149.6 reported in the fiscal year of 2018/19, with the net loss before tax up from £41m.
- As a consequence of the English Premier League ending before 30 June 2020, broadcasting revenue fell to £93.5m compared to £112.8m in 2019 – a drop of £19.3m, despite the Saints finishing 11th in the 2019/20 Premier League season (five places higher than the previous season).
- With the suspension of the league in March 2020, until Project Restart, which led to matches played behind closed doors, matchday revenue fell to £14.5m with a £2.5m drop compared to £17.0m in 2019.
- Project restart also coated them an additional £1.5m of net additional costs of sales and administrative expenses in order to enable the men’s first-team squad to train and conclude the 2019/20 season in a COVID-19 secure environment.
- The Saints reported that the total 2019/20 revenue foregone as a highlight of the significant impact of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic over the financial year was £10.3m, with a further £20.9m revenue deferred into the year ended 30 June 2021.
- However, the club said revenue would have shown up a £8.2m (5.5%) increase up to £157.8m for the 2019/20 fiscal year, had it not been lost or deferred due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
- The transfer business was significantly impacted as the Summer 2020 transfer window did not open until July 2020, after the financial year ended. The sales of Charlie Austin and Gallagher in the Summer 2019 window helped see a profit of £13.9m compared to £20.9m made in 2019.
What the Southampton FC MD is saying
Southampton Managing Director, Toby Steele, said:
- “As with many companies and industries, the group is in the midst of a challenging financial environment due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is reflected in the financial results for 2019/20 and necessitated the group to restructure its debt facility during June 2020. Despite these challenges, our group-wide staff have shown great resilience, facilitating a smooth return to training and matches for men’s and women’s teams across all age groups, as well as the return of fans, albeit briefly, during season 2020/21.
- “We also have great pride in the work of the Saints Foundation, in particular the collaboration with group staff in the ‘Saints as One’ initiative during the early stages of the pandemic. The ongoing support of our fans, many of whom purchased a 2020/21 season ticket at a time when the return of football was unknown, is greatly appreciated and it is our hope to get fans back where they belong, supporting all our teams in person, in greater numbers as soon as possible.”
Manchester City owner, Sheikh Mansour spends £760k on old FA Cup Trophy
Manchester City owner, Sheikh Mansour has paid almost £760,000 to buy the oldest surviving FA Cup.
Manchester City owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, purchased the 1896–1910 Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) at an auction.
The FA Cup was the first trophy won by Manchester City 116 years ago when they defeated Bolton Wanderers 1-0 in 1904 final, making the Manchester club the first professional football club from Manchester to capture a major honour. They are now the proud custodian of their first trophy.
The club tweeted, “We are delighted to announce we are now the proud custodian of the 1896–1910 #FACup following the recent purchase of the trophy at auction by Club owner, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.”
We are delighted to announce we are now the proud custodian of the 1896–1910 #FACup following the recent purchase of the trophy at auction by Club owner, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 8, 2021
Etihad chairman, Sheikh Khaldoon al-Mubarak, on commenting on the purchase said: “This Cup is a visible reminder of the rich and long history of English football to which Manchester City is inextricably entwined.
“Winning this actual trophy in 1904 was a turning point for the Club and for the city of Manchester in that it firmly cemented football in the heart of its community.”
What you should know
- The cup was previously the property of West Ham co-owner, David Gold, before he put it up for sale last year September by an anonymous buyer which is now revealed to be Manchester City’s owner.
- Auctioneers Bonhams had announced that a particular item of silverware was sold for £760,000 ($1.03m).
- The cup is the forerunner of the current FA Cup and also the oldest surviving piece of FA Cup silverware in England and the one first used in 1871 stolen from a shop while on display following Aston Villa’s triumph in 1895 and that was the last time it was seen.
- Originally, there were fears that the trophy would be bought privately and taken overseas, before Mansour stepped in to ensure the trophy will remain in England for the benefit of English football.
- The trophy has been offered to the National Football Museum in Manchester, England on loan, where it has been housed for the past 16 years, 2005.
Former FIFA President, Sepp Blatter rushed to hospital
Family have confirmed that former Fifa president, Sepp Blatter has been hospitalised.
Former President of FIFA, Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, was reportedly rushed to the hospital in Switzerland over a serious situation, but not life-threatening.
This isn’t the first time Blatter has been hospitalised, with the Swiss suffering health problems in November 2015 and July 2016.
The daughter of the 84-year-old, Corinne Blatter, confirmed the reports stating, “My father is in hospital. He’s getting better every day. But he needs time and rest.”
In her statement, Corinne asked for privacy on behalf of her family.
What you should know:
- Blatter served as the FIFA president for 17 years, from 1998-2015.
- He is currently serving a six-year ban. He was banned by FIFA’s ethics committee in 2015 from football for eight years where he was found guilty of a series of breaches including a conflict of interest and dereliction of duty over a 2million Swiss francs (£1.35m) “disloyal payment”.
- A FIFA appeals committee upheld the suspension but reduced it from eight years to six.
- The Swiss currently under criminal investigation over an alleged undue payment to the former UEFA president Michel Platini. Both Platini and Blatter have continued to maintain they did nothing wrong.