Ange Postecoglou and Kevin Muscat join AFC Elite Club Coaches’ Forum in Shanghai

AFC Forum 2019

Asia’s top competitions – the AFC Asian Cup and the AFC Champions League – were discussed by the top coaches at the fourth AFC Elite Club Coaches’ Seminar which was held again in Shanghai, China PR during the last two days.

Gerard Houllier, the former France and Liverpool coach, joined the coaching talent which included former AFC Asian Cup winning coach Ange Postecoglou, who won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup with Australia and now coaches Yokohama F Marinos in Japan.

Last year’s beaten finalist AFC Champions League with Persepolis, Branko Ivankovic, (now with Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli), Iceland’s Heimir Hallgrimsson who coaches Al-Arabi in Qatar and Gabriel Calderon, now Persepolis in the Islamic Republic of Iran, represented the West.

Another former Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez, who has just joined Dalian Yifang from Newcastle, was among a strong contingent of coaches from China PR – Luis Garcia (Beijing Renhe), Li Xiaopeng (Shandong Luneng Taishan), Bruno Genesio (Beijing Sinobo Guoan), Wang Baoshan (Henan Jianye) and ACL East zone semi-finalist Vitor Pereira with Shanghai SIPG.

Sydney FC’s Stephen Corica and former Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat, an ever-present at all four forums, were joined by Korea’s Kim Do-hoon (Ulsan Hyundai) and Jose Morais (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) as well as Tomohiro Katanosaka from Japan’s Oita Trinita.

Sun Wen the former China PR women’s captain, coach of the local Shanghai women’s team, and now Chinese FA Vice President, was among the audience at an event opened by Gao Hongbo, a former Chinese national player and coach.

Mr Gao said: “The Chinese FA are delighted at the trust the AFC places in us every year by hosting this important event in Shanghai. It is important that the CFA and Chinese football learns from the best practice that is available in Asia.”

Andy Roxburgh, the AFC Technical Director, added: “We thank not only the CFA but all the clubs and coaches who have given their support for this vital event. In the last four years we have gathered the finest minds in not only Asian but also world football.

“People like Gerard Houllier, Fabio Capello, Sven Goran Eriksson and Rafa Benitez have freely shared their experience with some of the younger coaches and this can only be good for the development of the coaching talent and competitions in Asia.”

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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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