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Signify technology lights up sporting clubs safely 

Signify is the world leader in lighting innovation for professionals, customers and lighting for the Internet of Things. 

Signify is the world leader in lighting innovation, providing their service for professionals, customers and lighting for the Internet of Things. 

Holding a strong presence worldwide, Signify can be found in over 70 countries, featuring approximately 38,000 employees.  

Their energy efficient lighting products, systems and services gives customers a more superior quality of light, which makes theirs and other people’s lives safer and more comfortable, leading onto businesses becoming more productive and cities more liveable. 

As parts of the world still continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Signify can help reduce the risk of viruses and bacteria spreading, especially in large indoor gatherings. It’s their Ultraviolet-C disinfection lighting that has been implemented for the first time at a UK professional sporting club. 

This technology can be found at The Stoop, home to English Gallagher Premiership Rugby Union Club Harlequins. The possibilities as endless for Signify, who can expand to the top four tiers of English football as more clubs can come on board. 

As a case study for how UV-C can be implemented at any team, Signify’s UV-C partner Powercor installed 11 UV-C disinfection upper air units in the Honours Bar of The Stoop. 

In an area that is normally reserved for Season Ticket Members, that section is currently utilised by the home team as their player’s dressing room. As the players are currently the ones to benefit from safety features due to restrictions in the UK, it is thought that once the fans do return to sporting venues, they will be within a more hygienic and safer atmosphere which will become the way forward. 

“Signify is a highly trusted partner and a leader in their field,” Harlequins Chief Executive Officer Laurie Dalrymple said. 

“We are proud to be the first professional sports team in the UK to use UV-C disinfection lighting technology, and we expect to see it widely utilised in future across the sports and events industry.”

Signify have added another layer of analysis for medical purposes as doctors look at ways to manage their players.

Signify’s UV-C disinfection lighting adds an additional layer of protection to the stringent testing and operational processes we have in place to protect the squad,” Harlequins’ Head of Medical Mike Lancaster said. 

“From a medical perspective, I am very satisfied with the way the technology has been tested in depth and fully proven.” 

UV-C is the proven disinfection method that prevents the spread of diseases by disinfecting air, water and surfaces. It breaks down the DNA or RNA of microorganisms to make viruses and bacteria become harmless. Laboratory testing showed that the virus could be clamped down in as little as nine seconds.  

Signify’s partner Powercor have already installed 11 units for Harlequins that are suspended by brackets 800mm from the ceiling. The high position, combined with the luminaires’ design, allows the system to disinfect air as it circulates in the room, even when there are people present. 

Applicable to all sports and venues, this is just the start of the reach that Signify can have with sporting organisations. 

“As a long-term partner of Signify, we are very pleased to extend our professional expertise to UV-C disinfection lighting, which will become increasingly important to our customers in the years ahead,” Powercor Managing Director Richard Grace said. 

“We are proud to play our part in getting the Quins safely to the pitch and creating hygienic spaces for supporters to enjoy the legendary atmosphere of The Stoop once it is considered safe to re-open.” 

Natural convection moves the disinfected air back into the lower part of the room. Shielding and optics in the luminaire’s design will additionally prevent accidental exposure to UV-C radiation.

“Harlequins have a long history at the pinnacle of English rugby. Top athletes work hard to keep their health at an absolute peak, which extends to managing the risks we all now face in crowded public places,” Andy Gowen said, Director Public and Sports Lighting at Signify in the UK & Ireland. 

“We’re very proud to support the Club’s objective to offer players and supporters the very best protection.”

Signify has led the way for UV technology, where they’ve added plenty of innovation and expertise related to UV-C lighting. The way that this lighting is designed, installed and use is treated with care so that safety requirements are made and improves hygiene in a climate where it has never been more important. 

To find out more on Signify and what they can offer sport clubs, you can find it here. 

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

W-League big winners in new CBA, as greater contract freedom for A-League clubs beckons

A new collective bargaining agreement has been struck between Professional Football Australia and the Australian Professional Leagues.

Equity in high-performance standards in the A-League and W-League, a 32% increase in the W-League salary cap floor and an increase in the A-League salary cap floor are the highlights of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) struck between Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and the Australian Professional Leagues (APL).

The new five-year deal was described as “ground-breaking” by a joint statement between the two bodies, in an announcement that highlights the newfound confidence in the economic environment for professional football in Australia.

Much of that confidence can be linked to the new five-year broadcast agreement with ViacomCBS and Network 10 and it is no surprise that this new CBA has been deliberately linked in length to the broadcast deal.

PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill explained that being able to achieve this agreement was a huge milestone for the professional game in Australia, after such a long period of uncertainty in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of the previous broadcasting deal with Fox Sports.

“The players’ vision for the negotiations was economic security and stability for the clubs, the leagues and the players. This agreement is a foundational step towards this objective and our leagues will be stronger as a result,” she said via the joint statement.

“It has been an incredibly challenging time for our game; however, we believe the CBA will provide a platform for our leagues to be re-launched and for a genuine partnership between the clubs and the players to be forged.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of Greg O’Rourke, Danny Townsend, Tracey Scott, Chris Pehlivanis and John Tsatsimas for their efforts and commitment during the negotiations and especially the players who participated so actively throughout.”

PFA President Alex Wilkinson noted the immense sacrifice made by many players to usher the game through the COVID-19 pandemic, which he says helped pave the way for this agreement.

“This generation of players, club owners and staff have been asked to make immense sacrifices to preserve our sport during unprecedented times,” he said.

“As a result of these sacrifices we have been able to take an important step forward and provide greater certainty for the clubs and players and make important progress in areas such as our high-performance environment, player welfare whilst further embedding our commitment to gender equity.”

Under the new CBA, genuine equity in high-performance standards in the A-League and W-League have been entrenched in order to create a “world-class workplace” for all of the country’s footballers.

This CBA will be the first to deliver common standards across higher performance and medical departments across both the W-League and the A-League.

Increases to minimum and maximum player payments are also factored in during the course of the five-year CBA with a particular focus on an increase to the W-League salary floor, providing another massive boost on the back of the recently announced expansion of the competition to also include Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix and Western United.

There will also be a reformed contracting model that allows for greater capacity in squad investment for clubs, with an allowance for up to two “Designated Player” spots, which will allow clubs to invest between $300,000 and $600,000 in players whose salaries will be excluded from the A-League salary cap.

These “Designated Players” will be in addition to the current exemptions, such as “Marquee Players”.

Furthermore, there will also be greater capacity for clubs to contract youth players with an increase in the cap on scholarship players.

The CBA also provides for guaranteed funding for player welfare and development programs, as well as greater support for the PFA Past Players Program.

APL Managing Director Danny Townsend said the deal was proof that the APL was living up to its promise of greater investment since taking control of Australia’s professional leagues.

“When APL took control of the leagues, we promised it would herald a new era of investment and this agreement shows the progress that has already been made,” he said in a statement.

“This is a clear example of what can be achieved when we work together with a common vision to realise the potential of Australian football.”

APL Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke added the investments would help clubs deliver a much-improved on-field product.

“Players are partners with us in the game and central to its growth. Having all of our partners on-board with the re-imagined future of the game is vital, and this agreement marks an important milestone in our new relationship,” he said.

“There will be immediate improvements across the men’s and women’s leagues, most notably for women’s football, all of which will flow through into improved experiences for players, and ultimately into growing and improving our game.”

UEFA EURO 2020 reaches global audience of 5.2 billion

Euro 2020

UEFA have announced that the recent EURO 2020 tournament was a landmark global success with over 5.2 billion people tuning in from continents across the world.

As the first major sporting event to be staged since the COVID-19 pandemic put the world in its entirety on hold, the popularity of UEFA EURO 2020 was a reflection that the power of football has in uniting people.

The hugely successful tournament – which saw Italy beat England in penalties in the final – left its mark in viewership history, ranking amongst the most viewed moments of all time and breaking live streaming records along the way.

The Final was watched by 328 million fans, on par with the record set in 2016. The match between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium was the most-watched TV event in the United Kingdom in 24 years and in Italy since 2012. The match also set all-time streaming records for any type of programming in both countries.

“The incredible TV audience figures show the massive appeal that EURO has, not only in Europe but worldwide,” UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said.

“The tournament has a global audience which continues to grow, in particular in North America and Asia, where the fan base following EURO keeps expanding.

“We also note that there is an ever-increasing number of fans accessing matches through streaming services.”

On average each live match was watched by over 100 million viewers with impressive increases in viewership in global markets such as China, where a growth rate of 43% was registered compared to 2016, with a cumulative audience of 352 million.

The event saw more Chinese fans accessing matches through streaming services than through traditional TV. In the USA, audiences grew by 32% with a cumulative TV audience of 87 million. India registered a growth rate of 229%, and a cumulative audience of 107 million.

On social media, there were 7.5 billion interactions and views of which two billion were generated by official UEFA accounts, making it the most engaged EURO ever.

“Digitally, we have seen incredible engagement during the tournament, and we are extremely satisfied with the performance of our own UEFA platforms,” Epstein added.

“The UEFA.com website and application has seen a 250% increase in traffic compared to 2016. It shows that our content offer has been extremely well received by fans and that our digital set-up is amazing.”

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