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Football Victoria provides update to football community

Football Victoria (FV) have released an update to the Victorian football community on Friday.

In a letter from FV CEO Peter Filopoulos and FV President Kimon Taliadoros, the governing body thanked the community and those who have supported the game during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Firstly, on behalf of Football Victoria, we would like to take this time to thank you for doing all you can to help your fellow Victorians during this unprecedented period. It has been a time like no other and never before has our community been so determined to do the right thing,” FV said in the letter.

“The efforts made by the entire football family allowed us to get many of our competitions back onto the pitch – or within days of returning in metropolitan areas, before the return of Stage 3 lockdown. It was an extraordinary collective community effort.

“Football has been greatly supported by the State Government, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Vicsport, our 79 Local Government Areas and a range of other stakeholders, who did all they could to provide support and ensure that football could resume at the appropriate time. Likewise, our commercial partners have stood with us every step of the way.”

The organisation provided details in regards to its refund policy for the season and will assist vulnerable clubs in securing government relief packages.

“We are very close to finalising the FV refund policy for our portion of participants fees. Emergency committees of football stakeholders have been created to work through the incredibly complex matrix of issues. We are working with clubs to ensure their input in developing a reasonable, transparent and fair FV refund policy. Each individual club will need then to take into account their own circumstances when developing their own club refund policy.

“We will be continuing to consult directly with clubs in coming weeks, all of which face significant challenges. We will make sure clubs are aware of any government relief packages available and will continue to provide assistance in unlocking funding opportunities. We are also working very closely with the state government to ensure opportunities for facilities funding are maximised at this time.”

Data collected by the Australian Sports Federation (ASF) of 2,700 sporting clubs around Australia, estimated a total loss of up to $1.5 billion due to the current crisis.

“This is not some imaginary, ‘worst case scenario’ projection. This is right here, right now. After six months with hardly any football, our sport and the clubs that play it are on the edge.”

The governing body did restate its intention to have competitive football played before the end of the year, if possible to do so.

“Even though the situation changes week-to-week, we remain determined to get the ball rolling this year.”

“Football will survive and it will again thrive. And when it does, we promise to be ready, just as we know our football community will be,” FV concluded.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

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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