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UEFA postpones youth national team competitions

UEFA has made the decision to postpone several youth national team competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has made the decision to postpone several youth national team competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UEFA, in consultation with its 55 member associations, believes that the delay will lessen the pressure on national football associations and allow for youth national team football to be preserved.

The 2019/20 Women’s Under-17 elite round and tournament has been cancelled. In the event that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup goes ahead next year, the top three European teams will qualify.

The elite round of the 2019/20 Men’s Under-19 tournament will be played in October 2020, with the final tournament to be held in Northern Ireland. The group stage is scheduled for November 2020 and the knockout stage for March 2021.

For 2020/21 competitions, qualifying matches have been reduced and moved to next year.

The Men’s and Women’s Under-17 tournaments are still planned to be held in May of 2021, with elite rounds being cancelled.

Qualifying rounds for the Women’s and Men’s Under-19 tournaments will be played in February and March respectively.

Belarus is set to host the Women’s Under-19 tournament as scheduled in July if next year while Romania will still host the Men’s Under-19 tournament as planned also in July of 2021.

“In order to alleviate the additional operational and financial burden on national associations – caused by hygiene conditions impacting travel and accommodation, as well as testing to safeguard the health of athletes and minimize any potential risk of spreading the infection – the following decisions were made regarding UEFA youth national team competitions,” UEFA said in a statement.

Meanwhile the UEFA Youth League returned yesterday at the Colovray Sports Centre in Nyon, Switzerland.

“The UEFA Youth League – even if no spectators can attend matches this year – is an extremely important event, both for European football and for our town. We’ll be delighted if the local public are able to return to watch the competition under normal conditions in 2021,” Mayor of Nyon, Daniel Rossellat said.

The final will be held on August 25.

Matches are being played without spectators, however fans are able to stream the games for free on UEFA.tv.

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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