UEFA confirm changes to Champions League schedule

UEFA has outlined the changes required to get the 2019/20 Champions League completed, with Portugal chosen as the destination for remaining fixtures.

Benfica’s Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (also hosting the final) and Sporting CP’s Estádio José Alvalade have been named as the two venues set to stage the remaining matches.

Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will be played as straight knockout tournament games and as single-legs, to speed up the conclusion of this season which has been on hold since March 11th.

There has yet to be decision about how the incomplete round of 16 second legs will play out, which could be at the home team’s stadium or in Portugal. If the latter, it is thought that the Estádio do Dragão in Porto and the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimarães will host the four remaining second legs if required.

At this stage, UEFA has outlined the following dates of each round remaining in the competition:

7-8 August: Round of 16 second legs (venues to be confirmed)
12-15 August: Quarter-finals (Lisbon)
18-19 August: Semi-finals (Lisbon)
23 August: Final (Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon)

The draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be held on July 10th 2020 at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon.

Due to the unprecedented circumstances, there has been a slight changes about upcoming UEFA Champions League finals. The 2019/20 decider was meant to be at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, but will instead be moved forward to next year. As such, the three subsequent final hosts have agreed to move forward a year later to accommodate, with details below:

2020: Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon, Portugal
2021: Atatürk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey
2022: Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia
2023: Football Arena Munich, Munich, Germany
2024: Wembley Stadium, London, England

Before the Champions League was put on hold, half of the round of 16 ties were completed. Paris Saint-Germain, Atlético Madrid, RB Leipzig and Atalanta made it through to the quarter-finals.

The round of 16 second legs yet to be played are Juventus vs Lyon (0-1), Manchester City vs Real Madrid (2-1), Bayern vs Chelsea (3-0) and Barcelona vs Napoli (1-1).

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program a key investment in Western Australia

Western Australia events are receiving significant support through the Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program 2023-24.

The WA State Government has invested over $630,000 to a host of sporting bodies across a vast number of codes.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • build capacity and capability of the sport and recreation workforce and volunteers to plan, secure and/or deliver quality sport and active recreation events
  • provide opportunities for talented WA athletes, coaches and officials to participate at a national and/or international level in their home environment
  • provide opportunities for the public to participate in sport and/or active recreation events
  • provide opportunities for regional Western Australians to experience and conduct major sporting events and sport development initiatives in a regional location.

The program comprises three categories:

  • event projects (up to $15,000)
  • event hosting (up to $50,000)
  • the Country Sport Enrichment Scheme (up to $30,000).

In Round 1 of the Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program 2023-24, one of the successful applicants was Football West, who ran 2024 Goldfields Regional Festival of Football – a seven-day community engagement event that improved football capacity in the wider Goldfields area. After receiving $24,200, Football West’s main goal is to increase participation in the region.

There is still time to apply for the next round of funding, which closes 5:00pm on February 26, 2024.

For full information and eligibility to apply, you can find it here.

WSL eyeing enormous 150% increase to broadcast rights deal

In a historic first for football in the UK, every single Women’s Super League match is set to be broadcasted live from next season across multiple channels.

The WSL tender document issued to broadcasters this month features all 132 league games, with 56 to be sold exclusively and the remaining 76 available on a non-exclusive basis.

Under the terms of the existing deal that expires at the end of the current season, Sky broadcast 35 matches-a-season and the BBC 22, with the rest streamed for free on the FA’s website.

The tender document is asking for a huge £20 million ($38.48 million) a year TV deal and this 150% increase to the value of its broadcasting deal is far from surprising following the explosion of the women’s game. This figure is set to be confirmed as soon as they can find the right suitors.

In an attempt to gain an increase from the existing £7.75 million ($14.91 million) a year deal, the WSL have responded by making every match available for broadcast, which the league hoped would attract bids from beyond current rights holders Sky Sports and the BBC, It looks to be working.

Sky Sports and the BBC are set to bid again on the rights and extend the current partnership whilst it is said that this potential deal is also attracting networks like TNT Sports and DAZN.

The Premier League and EFL have stood firm on the UEFA blackout that suggests all 3pm Saturday matches are not shown on TV, to encourage locals to attend matches in person. This means the WSL will have to work around it and it is likely that Saturday lunchtime and Sunday afternoons remain as the most common kick-off times.

There is little the WSL are having to do to persuade broadcasters into putting their hands up for these rights, which is a testament to the sport’s current growth and upward trajectory it is trending towards.

FA Director of Women’s football, Kelly Simmons, explained how important it was to secure this monumental broadcast deal.

“While we’ve been developing this it’s been so hard to sit on it because it’s so exciting for the women’s game. It is transformational,” Simmons said in an interview with Guardian Sport.

“When I first came into this role, we said that we really thought women’s football could really break into the mainstream and this is mainstream, this is prime slots on television, big audiences, week in week out.”

This deal in particular launches women’s football into the mainstream and helps improve the quality of the product which goes a long way to opening the eyes of a huge audience to its impact as a sport and socially.

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