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Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium soon to be cashless

English Premier League club Arsenal have announced that the Emirates Stadium will go completely cashless from 1st of March 2020.

The move has come following research into how fans use common facilities and how they pay for various items, including bars, restaurants, kiosks, programme sellers and retail outlets.

The change is intended to improve a fan’s match day experience and overall efficiency at the 60,000-seat venue, with all previously mentioned outlets only accepting card payments in the near future.

Previously, the stadium had been cashless just for match days, but will also apply to non-match day events and venue hire.

It would only be places outside Emirates Stadium that will continue to accept cash, including retail stores, programme sellers and catering kiosk Chapman’s.

Arsenal have based their decision on extensive research that takes into consideration supporters’ habits, the overall match day experience, and other cashless venues across the UK.

“Ninety-three per cent of our stadium transactions are currently made via card payment,” said Tom McCann, Arsenal’s Venue Director.

“By moving to a fully cashless operation, our fans can expect to experience increased speed and shorter queue times at our bars and kiosks.

“Over the forthcoming match days and events, we will promote the move to a cashless stadium to prepare our fans for this change on 1st of March.”

Arsenal will join fellow well-acclaimed big six clubs who have introduced cashless as the simple and effective way forward.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, home of the Gunners’ North London rivals, is already cashless. Additionally, Premier League leaders Liverpool introduced cashless payments across Anfield during their top-flight game against Leicester City on 5th of October as part of a phased rollout, while current champions Manchester City signed a deal with cashless payment company Tappit in October 2018.

Arsenal’s first fully cashless match day will be the visit of West Ham United, currently scheduled for 7th of March.

As Arsenal joins a small but growing list of Premier League sides using cashless, many other clubs will be sure to follow suit.

It adds convenience to match day and saves supporters time sorting through cash and instead use their everyday card for venue resources.

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

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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