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COVID-19 test for FIFA Club World Cup tickets

Fans will have to return a negative COVID-19 test result in order to receive a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 as part of strict precautions to limit the spread of the virus.

Fans will have to return a negative COVID-19 test result in order to receive a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 as part of strict precautions to limit the spread of the virus.

The announcements of virus measures were made by tournament organisers at a media briefing in Doha on Saturday.

“Fans will have to undergo rapid PCR or antigen tests up to 72 hours before each match. If it comes out negative they are allowed to receive their ticket,” Sport affairs adviser to Qatar’s health ministry, Abdulwahab Al Musleh said.

Fans from overseas will also be unable to attend the Club World Cup while public events such as fan zones will not occur.

Crowds will be limited to 30 percent capacity at the grounds for the tournament – Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and Education City Stadium. At full capacity both stadiums can host up to 40,000 people.

Use of Qatar’s contract tracing app alongside, social distancing, mask wearing and sanitiser will be mandatory for spectators at the tournament.

FIFA said that it would work with the authorities in Qatar to provide “the safeguards required to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the competition”.

After originally being scheduled to be played in December 2020 the FIFA Club World Cup was postponed to February 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tournament will be played between February 4 and 11 and features six teams – Al-Duhail SC (Qatar), Al Ahly SC (Egypt), FC Bayern Munich (Germany), Ulsan Hyundai FC (South Korea), Tigres UANL (Mexico) and the Copa Libertadores (South America) champions will compete in the World Cup.

Auckland City were due to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup but withdrew as a result of COVID-19 quarantine requirements put in place by New Zealand authorities.

The FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 is also set to be the first international competition to test concussion substitutes.

“FIFA will implement a protocol in which each team will be permitted to use a maximum of one concussion substitute in a match; this substitution will be able to be made regardless of the number of substitutes already used,” FIFA said in a statement.

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

Sky Sports extends rights to NIFL

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of Football in the region once again.

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will once again be the exclusive broadcaster of top-flight football in the region for the next three years.

The Irish League has had a long-lasting partnership with Sky over the years and the agreement will see the relationship in place until the end of the 2024/25 season.

The new agreement will see four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and the BetMcLean League Cup final broadcast live across the UK & Ireland each season.

Northern Ireland Football Chief Executive, Gerard Lawlor:

“We sincerely thank Sky Sports for their continued backing of our game and we look forward to showcasing some of the best NI Football League matches together over the next three seasons,” he said.

“To continue to have the invaluable support of such a high-profile broadcaster shows how far our league has progressed in recent years as we bring our game to an increasing audience of loyal fans.

“The NI Football League brand is continuing to grow outside of the confines of Northern Ireland, and through Sky Sports, many football fans are now becoming more familiar with the rich history of our clubs and as well as some of the household names that have played in the Irish League.”

Sky Sports Director of Football, Gary Hughes:

“As a long-term partner to the Northern Ireland Football League, we’re delighted to extend Sky Sports’ support of the league and ensure that its entertaining action continues to be available to our customers,” he said.

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy the Northern Ireland Football league alongside our ever-expanding football offering in the UK & Ireland which includes over 500 live games in 2022, from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and FA Women’s Super League as well as international action in the form of World Cup Qualifiers, and this month’s Africa Cup of Nations – placing Sky Sports as the home of live football.”

Valencia CF presents revised stadium upgrade plans

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia’s stadium, the Nuevo Mestalla, was originally under construction in 2009. However, over the last 12 years, due to financial issues and negotiation breakdowns, construction has never been completed and the situation has become known as one of the world’s most notorious stadium projects.

Murthy presented revised plans to a Council delegation led by Ribó, with the club seeking to recommence work on the stadium in order to ensure it retains the advantages granted to it under an ATE construction license given in 2012.

The plans presented to the council include a stadium capacity between 43,000 to 46,000, expandable to 60,000. The stadium would have a second ring dedicated almost exclusively to leisure and restaurant offerings, while the roof will be fitted with solar panels in an effort to drive sustainability.

Valencia Mayor, Joan Ribo:

“Initially it is proposed for a capacity comparable to that which the (Mestalla) stadium currently has (48,500), but expandable to 62,000 spectators. But I think this is not the fundamental element,” he said.

“The fundamental element is the novelty of this second ring that has seemed to me to be a remarkable element that is not in many football stadia. They propose a roof that is made of photovoltaic panels, which is an example at that level that I want to value.

“They have assured us that they have guarantees with the bank where they have the debt, which is now Caixabank.

“They have presented us with a calendar where in June 2022 the works of the sports centre would begin, in October 2022 the start of the works of the stadium and in August 2024 the inauguration of the new Mestalla. The calendar seems realistic and possible, but if it is not met, they will listen to us.”

In December, Valencia revealed plans to use funds from LaLiga’s strategic venture, with global investment fund CVC Capital Partners to help finance the construction of its new stadium. Valencia is reportedly set to receive approximately $189 million AUD from LaLiga as part of the LaLiga Impulso venture. $125 million of which is set to head to the stadium project.

Valencia CF President, Anil Murthy:

“The meeting has been very positive. After the two meetings with the Generalitat, today we have taken an important step by formally presenting the project we have to the important institution, which is the City Council,” he said.

“We have agreed on recommencing work as soon as possible, after presenting the project to the Generalitat and the City Council.

“Nobody talks about a low-cost stadium. It’s going to be a stadium that’s going to give a lot of people a lot of hope and it’s going to mean a lot of investment in the city. It’s going to be something different and something attractive.”

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