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Manchester United partners with LGBT+ equality charity

Manchester United has partnered with LGBT+ rights charity Stonewall, in an effort to promote diversity and inclusion.

The strategic partnership sees the Premier League outfit join Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme. The programme focuses on LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace and gives the club access to resources to support LGBT+ inclusion.

The club will also participate in Stonewall’s Workplace Allies programme – which assists non-LGBT employees to support and promote an LGBT-inclusive culture.

Manchester United Group Managing Director, Richard Arnold said that the club is committed to making equality, diversity and inclusion integral to the way Manchester operates.

“We’re immensely proud of our relationship with Stonewall and delighted to be taking it to the next level with this strategic partnership. Diversity is a source of strength for Manchester United and ensuring a welcoming environment for LGBT+ employees and fans is a crucial part of that,” he said.

Manchester has been taking steps to improve diversity and inclusion through its ‘All Red All Equal’ campaign.

The club has previously supported Stonewall, in 2017 Manchester United was the first football club to join Stonewall’s TeamPride coalition. Manchester has also supported Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign in the past.

“It’s so important for organisations to actively work towards making sport everyone’s game. Many LGBT+ people want to take part in sport, either as players or fans, but at the moment not everyone feels welcome. We also know that most sports fans want to see sports be better and more inclusive,” Chief Executive of Stonewall, Nancy Kelley said.

“To make this happen, we need individuals and organisations to step up to show their support for LGBT+ people and that’s what Manchester United has done today. We’re excited to continue our journey with them from being a founding member of TeamPride, to now joining us as a Diversity Champion. We look forward to working with them to help further LGBT+ equality in football.”

Manchester United also has an LGBT+ Supporters group – the Rainbow Devils was established in February of 2019.

“We’re proud to support and work alongside a club that is committed to creating an inclusive environment for LGBT+ people. There is still a lot more work to do but this partnership with Stonewall is another welcome step in the right direction,” Leader of Rainbow Devils, Eric Najibsaid said about the partnership.

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

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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