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AFC aiming to protect commercial rights

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced the creation of an Independent Working Group to protect the commercial rights of the confederation.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced the creation of an Independent Working Group to protect the commercial rights of the confederation.

On Friday, the AFC said that it was important to guard its competitions such as the AFC Champions League, men’s and women’s Asian Cups and the AFC Cup among other competitions.

The new body will work with and advise the AFC’s commercial and legal departments.

“The AFC recognises the challenges that all our partners are facing in these uncertain times and that makes it especially important that the AFC protects the value and exclusivity of all our rights both now and in the coming years,” AFC President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said.

“The Confederation remains most grateful for the loyalty and understanding of all its partners and we know that this move, involving people of such outstanding experience and quality, will show everyone how seriously we are taking our responsibilities in this area.”

AFC’s Executive Committee appointed Tom Liston, Dan Harrington, and Marco Villiger to the Independent Working Group on the Protection of Commercial Rights.

Tom Liston is a former Managing Director of Team Marketing, who are based in Zurich and are an international sports marketing agency. Team Marketing has worked with the Union of European Football Associations for over 25 years.

Liston has worked with the AFC before, helping to advise on sponsorship deals in 2018.

Dan Harrington is a commercial lawyer with experience in dealing with domestic and international sports rights sales. Harington is also a partner at Level Law, a London based firm who focus on media, entertainment, technology, and sport.

Marco Villager has previously worked at FIFA as the Deputy Secretary General and General Counsel. Villager also oversaw FIFA’s legal, finance, commercial and HR divisions and now owns MV Sports Consulting.

In 2018, the AFC and DDMC Fortis (now called Football Marketing Asia) signed an eight year commercial rights deal covering the 2021-2024 and 2025-2028 rights cycles. The deal was believed to be worth more than five and a half million Australian dollars.

Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Acun Medya Group secures Hull City takeover

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, headed by Acun Ilicali.

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, for a fee in the reported region of $37 million AUD.

Acun Ilicali, a 52-year-old businessman and owner of Acun Medya Group, was introduced to fans at the MKM Stadium prior to the club’s 2-0 win at home over Blackburn Rovers.

The takeover brings the controversial ownership of the Allam family to an end, much to the delight of fans after a roller coaster 11 years in charge.

Despite overseeing two promotions to the Premier League, an FA Cup Final and Hull’s first-ever foray into a European competition through the UEFA Europa League in 2014, the Allam family became increasingly unpopular with the fans.

The unpopularity of the Allam family is due to many different reasons, however it all started when the family proposed a name change to ‘Hull Tigers’ back in 2013. The move was ultimately blocked by authorities a year later, which frustrated the Allams and they then put the club up for sale, straining the relationship with fans and seeing a decline in attendances at home fixtures.

The new ownership will look to win back supporters and turn the negative tide.

Acun Medya Group Owner, Acun Ilicali:

“I am happy that I have fulfilled one of my biggest dreams. We are starting a beautiful journey with Hull City. We have many big dreams and goals to achieve together with our fans,” he said.

Outgoing Vice-Chairman Ehab Allam:

“During our tenure, we have worked hard to create a sustainable model and successful academy set-up, giving the club the foundations it needs for the future,” he said.

“There have been lots of ups and downs over the last 11 years or so, but we will take some very fond memories with us… We have taken a very business-led approach to running the club and I truly hope Acun can rebuild the relationship with the fanbase and also bring back the success on the pitch that fans crave and deserve.”

Hertha Berlin pushing hard for stadium upgrade

Top-flight German football club Hertha Berlin has reiterated its intention to develop a new stadium nearby to the Olympiastadion.

Top-flight German football club Hertha Berlin has reiterated its intention to develop a new stadium nearby to its current home, the Olympiastadion, releasing fresh renderings of its vision for such a project.

The club has been attempting to progress plans to develop a new home for several years and in February 2020 stated that the OlympiaPark would be the preferred location.

In November 2018, Hertha confirmed it was targeting an opening date in July 2025 for a new-look Olympiastadion, with preference to be building a completely new stadium rather than renovating the current one.

The current Olympiastadion has been home to Hertha Berlin for almost 60 years, and has a capacity of around 74,000. However, the club is seeking a more intimate stadium for its fans, as well as the inclusion of an athletics track.

Hertha’s former stadium commissioner, Klaus Teichert, withdrew an application for a decision to be made on the location for a new stadium, with Brandenburg also put forward as a potential location.

Hertha Berlin Chief Financial Officer, Ingo Schiller:

“We have entered into talks with the new government and are working hard to set the course for our new stadium in 2022,” he said.

“The stadium is the club’s most important project, especially in terms of the economic situation.”

There is a lot of political support necessary for the project to get approved, as the potential worksite currently includes residential apartments, a big reason for negotiations coming to a stall at times.

A resident spoke to local radio station rbb24:

“You talk about ir, but not with us. We are still not prepared to sell our apartments in Sportforumstraße or to negotiate about them,” they said.

“It is very unfortunate that our residents in Sportforumstraße are once again unsettled by this uncoordinated approach.”

Hertha Berlin and backers of the new stadium have been in negotiation with Berlin’s sports senator, Iris Spranger, with talks to continue over the next month.

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