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Singapore Premier League to restart

The Singapore Premier League (SPL) will resume on October 17 after a six and a half month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Singapore Premier League (SPL) will resume on October 17 after a six and a half month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, the Football Association of Singapore announced that it had received approval from the Singapore Government for the SPL season to restart.

SPL teams will play each other twice for the 2020 season instead of three times – the Singapore Cup has also been cancelled for this season in order for the SPL season to be completed. The Football Association of Singapore said that they expected the SPL season to be finished by the end of 2020.

Fans will be unable to attend matches with only essential personnel allowed into the ground.

SPL players and match officials will be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks once the competition resumes. 223 players and match officials have been tested ahead of the resumption with all tests coming back negative.

“We are extremely pleased with the decision announced by MCCY on the resumption of the SPL. This is an outcome that the FAS and the SPL clubs, along with Sport Singapore and the relevant government authorities, have worked tirelessly towards in recent weeks. Our utmost thanks and appreciation go out to the various government agencies who have helped in making the resumption happen,” FAS President Lim Kia Tong, said in a statement.

“While we would have loved for supporters to be allowed into the stadiums so that they can cheer on their favourite teams, I am sure that they will understand the need for these precautions and that they will continue to support the SPL by watching the games on television or online.

“The FAS will ensure that all the necessary Covid-19 safe protocols are strictly adhered to, to ensure the smooth restart of the League and hopes it will pave the way for more local sports leagues and events to resume.”

The current Singapore Premier League season has been suspended since March 24. Small group training was permitted from mid-June before clubs were allowed to return to full training from September 1.

 

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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