EVA Air Queensland Champions Cup Postponed

Despite plans to push ahead with the tournament this coming July, Football Queensland have announced the inevitable postponement of the EVA Air Queensland Champions Cup.

The tournament consists of three teams. Brisbane Roar and two London-based Premier League clubs in West Ham United and Crystal Palace Football Club.

The tournament made international headlines upon the first news surfacing, with many football fans excited to see two strong English clubs travel Down Under for a pre-season tournament.

The excitement was palpable. But unfortunately, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament has been postponed until further notice.

The tournament was going to be a big hit for fans in Queensland, especially those with vested interests in the Premier League.

Football has become a huge attraction in the Sunshine state in recent times and it’s quite saddening to see that this event has been postponed. Although at the same time, we’re thankful that precautions have been taken to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Brisbane Roar head coach Robbie Fowler has made a bold entrance into the A-League this season, taking the Roar into fourth position on the table.

Although Liverpool weren’t scheduled to travel to Australia, it’s a great prospect to see Fowler, in a way, mix it with Premier League teams once again.

West Ham United released a statement on their website on Wednesday:

“West Ham United regret to confirm that, due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the inaugural EVA Air Queensland Champions Cup has been postponed.

The Hammers were scheduled to be travelling to Australia in July to take part in the tournament alongside fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace and A-League outfit, Brisbane Roar.

However, given the social distancing measures in place across the world to prevent the spread of the virus, along with the suspension of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign until further notice, the decision has been taken to cancel the event, with the health and safety of players, officials and supporters an absolute priority.

The Club will continue to work with tour organisers TEG Live and there is a commitment from both sides to try and find a date to reschedule the tournament.

Manager David Moyes said: “It is a real shame that we will no longer be able to make it over to Queensland this summer, however, it is the right decision to postpone given the circumstances. The players and I were really looking forward to seeing our fans and the people of Australia, especially as there was great excitement and support for the tournament.

“This is a situation that has affected the entire world, though, and the only thing that matters at this time is that people stay safe and well. We hope the tournament can be rearranged at a later date once things are back to normal, and we look forward to visiting Australia in the future.”

Existing ticket holders should have already received an email direct from Ticketek, the official ticket operator for the tournament, outlining their options.

West Ham United would like to thank our supporters, particularly those out in Australia, for their understanding in this matter.”

ENDS

Crystal Palace also released a similar statement with chairman Steve Parish describing the decision as “bitterly disappointing”. However, Parish would go on to postface that football was merely secondary when compared to the current situation of the world.

As disappointing as it is that we won’t get to see two of England’s powerhouse clubs play in Australia, the decision was all but made once borders were closed. Depending on how the Premier League reschedules their fixtures and potentially their fixtures next season, it may be more of a cancellation than a postponement.

However, we hope that is not the case as it would be fantastic for the game of football in Queensland if this competition could go ahead.

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Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

City Football Group add İstanbul Başakşehir to club portfolio

City Football Group (CFG) announced a “football collaboration agreement” with Turkish Süper Lig side İstanbul Başakşehir to expand on their current portfolio of worldwide football clubs.

CFG is the owner of Premier League giants Manchester City and the group also own majority shareholder status in a further seven clubs around the world including A-League side Melbourne City.

Under this agreement, CFG will provide Başakşehir with guidance on transfers, academy development and data-driven insights. The group will also offer support with player screening and football strategy.

This strategy used by CFG has been rather successful for all the clubs under the consortium and Melbourne City in particular have used this connection to make some big transfers in and outgoings. David Villa was the first significant loan move from CFG club New York City FC which started a practice of players and coaches rotating between the group’s clubs.

It has seen players like Daniel Arzani and Aaron Mooy move to Manchester City temporarily to be loaned out to other European clubs. Recently, Patrick Kisnorbo earned a move to fellow CFG club ESTAC Troyes to become the first ever Australian manager in a top five European league.

Göksel Gümüşdağ, Majority Owner and Club President of Başakşehir, explained that this move is immense for the club.

“İstanbul Başakşehir FK has achieved many firsts in Turkish football despite its young age and today, with this collaboration with the leading football group in the world, it marks another milestone for İstanbul Başakşehir and Turkish football,” he said in a club statement.

“From the very beginning, we have reiterated at every opportunity that our vision and goals are different and today underlines this expression again. We are very happy, proud and excited. I would like to thank all the people in City Football Group for their approach and support in the process. I hope it will be beneficial for Başakşehir FK and Turkish football.”

City Football Group released their own statement regarding the new addition to their family and the future plans for the club.

“This collaboration will help CFG grow knowledge and develop relationships in Turkey, an ambitious football nation and developer of talent. This will also provide CFG with an opportunity to collaborate across emerging football areas with a club that has a shared vision.” a CFG statement read.

City Football Group, INEOS and Red Bull in particular have figured out a way to potentially ‘game the system’ to their advantage before FIFA or UEFA had ever thought of cracking down on this potentially threatening move for football.

İstanbul Başakşehir is just another club adding to the growing list of clubs involved in a multi-club structure which is said to be over 180 clubs across the world in total. Modern football is transforming like never before.

DFL and EA Sports continue to delight Bundesliga fans

The German Football League (DFL) renewed its partnership with sports game manufacturer EA Sports, in a deal labelled by officials to be of ‘high strategic importance’.

It guarantees that clubs from Germany’s top two tiers will feature in EA Sports’ football video-game, EA Sports FC, until 2027.

In addition, EA Sports will continue to sponsor the ‘Player of the Month’ and ‘Player of the Season’ awards for the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2.

A relationship that stems back to 1998, the DFL and EA Sports share an important history built on innovation within the gaming world.

In 2012, the DFL pioneered the world’s first eFootball competition, Virtual Bundesliga (VBL), helped greatly by its relationship with EA Sports. The VBL remains a strong part of the DFL’s vision, resulting in the professionalisation of the competition.

An arm of video-game publishing organisation Electronic Arts, EA Sports is in the midst of a new era in football gaming, after failing to agree a deal with its long-time naming rights partner, FIFA.

However, the game’s universal popularity since its inception in 1993 gives it one of the highest return customer rates in video gaming history.

EA Sports’ first iteration of the game since removing the FIFA branding – EA Sports FC 24 – is the highest-selling video game in the UK and Europe, and ranks 10th in the United States (from Statista).

This global demand is exactly what the DFL is eager to capitalise on, according to Bundesliga International Chief Marketing Officer Peter Naubert.

“The contract renewal confirms the positive development of our global licensing and sponsorship partnerships and underscores the global appeal of the Bundesliga brand as well as the significant growth that the DFL generates for clubs,” Naubert stated via press release.

The gaming industry remains a lucrative space for football organisations to increase its marketability and generate greater revenue. Late last year, the Argentina Football Association partnered with a gaming software company to increase its marketing presence in Europe.

DFL joint-CEO Marc Lenz explained that the extension of its deal with EA Sports is crucial to its marketing strategy.

“Our core aim is to reach young fans and find new ways to spark their interest in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2,” Lenz told the DFL website.

EA SPORTS FC is a successful part of this strategy, because the licensing partnership and the Virtual Bundesliga increase the visibility of our leagues and clubs.”

Lenz’s partner Steffen Merkel spoke about the relationship between the DFL and EA Sports.

EA SPORTS FC deepens the connection between millions of fans and their favourite players and clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, which are an important part of the video game series,” Merkel added via media release.

“The partnership has existed since 1998 and underscores the shared conviction behind the cooperation, which is characterised by constant and successful evolution.”

Meanwhile, the inclusion of Germany’s top two professional leagues in EA Sports FC will assist EA Sports’ future plans for football gaming.

“Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are key to building an innovative and evolving football platform for fans, and we’re thrilled that the DFL shares our vision for the future of football,” EA Sports President, Cam Weber, added via the DFL website.

By continuing its relationship with EA Sports, the DFL demonstrates its commitment to a sustainable and profitable future for its competitions.

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