SPFL turns attention to Japan and South Korea market in broadcast extension

SPFL broadcast extension

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) announced they have signed multi-year extensions to its broadcast agreements with the BBC and Infront.

Through its international TV rights agency, it will allow matches to be shown in Japan and South Korea as part of the overseas agreement.

The BBC’s rights will continue to cover the cinch Premiership TV highlights on Sportscene, 20 live Friday night games on the BBC Scotland channel, radio rights on BBC Radio Scotland, and extensive clip rights on the bbc.co.uk website.

Infronts deal, meanwhile, will see the international rights agency continue to distribute SPFL’s rights to overseas broadcasters until 2029. The deal includes a buyout agreement from 2025.

According to the SPFL, the Premiership is already broadcasted in over 150 countries before this current agreement was struck for the Japan and South Korean market.

The SPFL and Celtic in particular have benefitted greatly from recruiting top Asian prospects in recent years, especially under Ange Postecoglou who took advantage of his Yokohama F Marinos connections. Other teams are following suit, with Hearts signing talent Yutaro Oda.

With this recruitment comes an amazing commercial opportunity for the league to take full advantage from, with Asian tourists watching games live being a big focus for the league.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, in a press release, expressed the strength of these new agreements in regards to the growth of the SPFL.

“The strong interest we received during the recent competitive tendering process underlines the increasing demand from broadcasters for the excitement and drama of the SPFL.” he said.

“These contracts come on the back of record fee payments to the 42 SPFL clubs announced in the past year and, alongside our recently extended record agreement with Sky Sports, will play a major role in strengthening the financial future of the SPFL.

“We are very much looking forward to working with Sky Sports, BBC Scotland, and Infront to bring the passion, skill, and drama of the cinch SPFL to millions more football fans worldwide.”

Louise Thornton, Head of Commissioning, BBC Scotland, added via media release:

“We’re delighted we’ve reached this agreement with the SPFL which further strengthens our commitment to provide extensive coverage of the top tiers of the game.” she said.

“Live Championship football has become a popular fixture of the Friday night schedule on the BBC Scotland channel, so it’s great news that will continue until 2029. Combining that with the broad slate of live radio coverage and tv and online highlights from the Premiership over the same period is brilliant news for our audiences.”

Andreas Kaeshammer, Head of Football at Infront was equally as delighted to continue with the SPFL:

“Our continued partnership with SPFL speaks volumes about our collective achievements over the past years. We’ve unlocked new opportunities for SPFL, both in terms of broadcast territories and digital footprint. This renewed commitment allows us to further build on this momentum and continue elevating Scottish football on a global scale.” he added via press release.

This partnership is a great, proactive move that will help further push the international viewership and growth needed for the SPFL if they want to challenge Europe’s top leagues in talent and revenue.

Global Institute of Sport and former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor launch ‘study and play’ academy in Dubai

Global Institute of Sport (GIS) has announced an expansion into the Middle East by partnering with leading football performance specialists The Player, co-founded by former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor.

Aspiring footballers from across the globe can now study a GIS university degree and immerse themselves in an elite football environment with the stunning surroundings of Dubai.

The new ‘Study & Play: Dubai’ initiative provides footballers of all levels with an unprecedented opportunity to train and play in state-of-the-art facilities under the guidance of UEFA A licenced coaches. Alongside their football, students studying a specialist GIS online sports degree will receive local academic support, as well as be part of a global cohort of GIS students studying the same degree course.

Open to students from across the world to move to Dubai, successful applicants will be able to immerse themselves in the Middle East’s emerging football market, gain cutting-edge skills and apply for sports work placements that will shape their future both on and off the field.

The Player Co-Founder and former Newcastle United player Steven Taylor commented:

“This partnership with GIS offers a fantastic opportunity for young athletes. Education is one of our four main focuses at The Player, and we’re able to offer high level performance training alongside this education.”

Fellow The Player Co-Founder and UEFA A licenced coach Sam White added:

“We’re really proud to be introducing this partnership with Global Institute of Sport, and being able to offer young professionals and talented young athletes the opportunity to study a degree and play or work within the world of football in Dubai at the same time.”

GIS President and CEO Sharona Friedman stated:

“GIS was founded with the intention of bringing the best learning and education from the world of sport together so that students are able to graduate with a holistic understanding of best practice from around the globe.

“We are delighted to partner with The Player to provide an additional immersive opportunity for students to study and train in an elite football environment, whilst also bringing our education model to a new region, which will be at the forefront of sports business and performance for the decades to come.”

The GIS degrees available to study as part of this opportunity are:

All programmes are delivered entirely online with the exception of MSc Football Coaching & Analysis, which is largely online plus two residential weeks in either London, Miami or Melbourne.

For more information on Study & Play: Dubai, you can visit the link here: www.GIS.sport/dubai.

FIFA implement measures to protect female players and coaches

FIFA has announced several amendments to the current Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP). These changes have been approved by the FIFA Council by May 2024 and have been brought into effect from June 1.

These changes are majorly focused on women and the impact that menstruation and pregnancy have on their careers.

A meeting of key stakeholders and FIFA members resulted in these new regulations advancing the women’s game.

These include:

  • FIFA female players and coaches can now receive a minimum of 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  • A minimum of 8 weeks of paid absence for female coaches and players who adopt a child under the age of 2.
  • Also, a minimum of 8 weeks paid absence from the birth of the child if they are not the biological mother (for example same-sex parenthood).
  • Players are entitled to full remuneration if they are absent from training or games due to menstruation or pregnancy health reasons.
  • There is increased support for female players in contacting families during national team contexts to ease pressure on children and mothers.

FIFA Chief Legal & Compliance Officer Emilio García Silvero has commented on the recent changes:

“FIFA is committed to implementing a dynamic regulatory framework that is sound and suitable for the increasing needs of female players and coaches,” he said via media release.

“In order for the game to further flourish, it’s key that we have a holistic approach towards player well-being, including the legal aspects.”

This is a huge advancement in the game’s equality mission as FIFA has recognised and actively planned to ease the physical, psychological and social dimensions of pregnancy and menstruation for women athletes.

These regulations fit Goal 2 in FIFA’s Strategic Objectives for the Global Game: 2023-2027, which describe the organisation’s commitment to exploring and implementing further safeguards for player and coach welfare.

FIFA Chief Football Women’s Officer Dame Sarai Bareman outlined the importance of placing women’s physical health in the legal and mainstream dialogue of the sport.

“When you’re playing sport for a living, and in a professional environment, we have to factor in that the female menstrual cycle can also impact on your ability to deliver within your role,” she added via media release.

“So, it’s important that we protect … those that are affected by their menstrual cycles in a way that it doesn’t put at risk their employment situation with their club and, ultimately, their ability to earn money.”

This announcement shows the players are becoming the major stakeholders in laws and regulations around their welfare.

This is an important strategy for the equality of the game by making sure that women’s sporting careers are not put on hold or impacted by their natural body function or raising a child.

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