Belarus Premier League captures world’s attention with overseas TV deals

As the only European professional football league still playing, the Belarusian Premier League has now struck multiple overseas deals with broadcasters seeking live sports content during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the start of its new season earlier in March, the league has extended its reach into ten international territories, according to the Reuters news agency.

Among the broadcast deals reported, TV networks in neighbouring Russia and Ukraine, as well as countries further afield such as Israel and India, have snapped up rights to the league.

The Belarus Football Federation (ABFF) has refused to postpone play while the country is taking a more relaxed approach to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“What is clear is that this situation has never happened before in our country’s competition. [Previously] it was difficult for us to sell,” said ABFF spokesperson Alexander Aleinik on the national football body’s website.

With the Belarusian Premier League not signalling its intent to halt competition as this stage, it is sure to delight fans around the world who are craving something to watch, after having their local leagues suspended and postponed with no clear date of resumption.

“We didn’t expect them to have a decent league over there. We didn’t know this before because we didn’t show the matches,” said Viktor Samoilenko, the head of Poverkhnost Ukraine, which owns the country’s Sport-1 network.

The decision to continue playing comes with the Belarusian government deciding not to enforce the COVID-19 social distancing measures seen in other countries. Those regulations elsewhere have created a near-total shutdown of live sports events.

It means that as we’ve seen with some competitions previously, the league will look to continue operating as per normal until it is deemed too unsafe or recommended not to by their government.

It has definitely proved to be a unique approach by the people of Belarus and could serve as one of the few welcome distractions to what is happening around the world.

At the time of reporting, there have been 163 reported cases of coronavirus in Belarus, including 2 reported deaths and 53 patients who have made full recoveries. At the moment Belarus has one of the fewest number of cases in the world.

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Federal Budget commits $97 million investment for sport programs

The 2024-25 Federal Budget, which was released on Tuesday night, includes more than $97 million over two years to the ASC to extend Sporting Schools, the Local Sporting Champions, and Local Para Champions programs, and participation funding to help more Australians get active.

This two-year extension runs until 30 June 2026 and helps kids of all different sports afford an opportunity to play at a local level if they come from and under privileged background.

Football Australia is a part of the Sporting Schools program, with each state offering participation Officers and local clubs that are ready to implement in-school and after-school programs for students of ages up to Year 8, plus all abilities programs.

Football Australia use this program to link local football clubs with schools to facilitate an ongoing relationship and provide further opportunity for students to continue their football journey outside of school, whether that be MiniRoos Kick Off, MiniRoos Club or Junior Football.

More than 24,000 young Australians will be supported with the Local Sporting Champions (LSC) and Local Para Champions (LSP) grants programs continuing for a further two years.

These are fantastic programs that have supported Australia’s best athletes including many Matildas like Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Teagan Micah and Clare Hunt.

World Cup veteran’s Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter also rose to success with assistance from the LSC program throughout their junior careers.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM mentions the importance of this investment to continue critical national sporting programs.

“Once again, I want to thank Minister Wells and the Australian Government for their continued support and investment in Australian sport,” Perkins said in a statement.

“This funding extends critical sport participation programs like the Participation Grant program and Sporting Schools which provides free and fun sporting opportunities to more than two million students each year.

“This follows last week’s announcement of $249.7 million to upgrade the AIS Campus to ensure our athletes have access to the world’s best testing and training facilities, and accommodation ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit football amongst other sports and has a history of helping kids of all skill levels play in their respective sport.

The Federal Budget have put in almost $350 to improve sport, mostly around the 2032 Olympic Games but it is great to see some investment in the world game after the huge success of the Women’s World Cup last year.

The biggest Female Football Week to date draws to a close

Female Football week is at its climax across the country with each respective state firmly involved in what has been a monumental year of growth and perseverance with one of the hottest topics amongst the sporting plethora across the nation.

Symbolising the significant strides in which female football has made down under, off the back of its maiden World Cup hosting tenure.

Football Queensland throughout the grand occasion were busy shining a spotlight upon the continuous growth of participation, encouraging women of all ages to become involved and immersed within the global game.

Football Victoria – Commentary

Football Victoria (FV) celebrated women’s football week in style.

Round 8 of the National Premier League Women’s (NPLW) competition within Victoria was unique throughout its coverage, with every match throughout the round featuring a female commentator.

A monumental feat spearheaded by the FV Commentary team, this was the first time an all female commentary round was executed.

Football Queensland

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci disclosed his appreciation for the momentous occasion via the FQ website.

“While celebrations like FFW serve as a crucial milestone in FQ’s journey towards achieving 50/50 gender parity by 2027 and helps to further reinforce our commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity, our support is not confined to this week, as we remain dedicated to prioritising our female football community year-round.”

Football Queensland – Award Ceremony

Paying homage to Referees, Club Volunteers, Players and Community Champions of the year was conducted through awards up for grabs.

FQ showcased an award ceremony towards multiple facets of football throughout the state.

A nice incentive dedicated to the recognition and appraisal of the hard work undertaken by different areas of football.

The Female Football Week club of the year was awarded to Central Football Club following their extraordinary contribution to female football within Queensland.

Displayed throughout the clubs commitment to female football, the club are fully dedicated to the advancement of women’s football.

Harvesting a fostering environment throughout the club, alongside the nourishment of young promising female footballers has been symbolised by FQ.

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