When it comes to an outside view of LaLiga, it is one that sees a competition with nothing more than a duopoly between two global superpowers, as Barcelona and Real Madrid pass round the league title between them. Admittedly, they do allow a guest to dine at the top table from time to time, as Atletico Madrid, Valencia, and Deportivo La Coruna have also earned the mantle of Spanish league champions since the turn of the millennium.
With November’s international dates now a mere footnote in football history, it is time to reflect on the culmination of the Nations League group phase and with the final four booking their place in Italy next year, the focus is now on who will win the trophy next October. Initially the final phase of the competition was set to be contested next summer, but with the European Championships being delayed by 12 months and taking far greater priority, it means there is something of a backlog as far as UEFA governed tournaments are concerned.
Since COVID-19 has gripped the sporting world, much has been made of the topic regarding player welfare and with previously mothballed competitions having to make up for lost time, additional strain has been placed on those who take the playing field on a weekly basis. Of course, since a global pandemic has secured a vice like grip on football, it has meant hardly any rest for the wicked and with European-based players performing twice a week for both club and country, collective hamstring muscles are quickly reaching breaking point.
The response to the Premier League’s decision to begin putting matches behind a paywall from football fans across the United Kingdom was typical. That’s not to say it wasn’t also justified, but the usual hullabaloo of indignation followed with fans taking to social media to vent at the powers that be for trying to make money out of them by making them pay £14.95 to watch their team play.
The Football Association [The FA] have partnered with Weetabix Food Company to encourage the nation to embrace healthy choices through their new ‘Eat Well, Live Well, Play Well’ initiative. The partnership will see the cereal maker become the Official Breakfast Category Partner of the England Women’s and Men’s Senior Teams and lead partner of Wildcats.
WSC Sports partners with Tencent on video production solutions, Cristiano Ronaldo launches on Kuaishou and hits 5M+ followers in 24 hours, Chinese Super League enforces salary cap, PP Sports and Huawei agree content partnership, Tencent commits $30M for Peacekeeper Elite League, Baidu purchases live streaming platform, and the World Football Summit launches next week. In this week’s From The Top, we spoke with Eric Geng, Senior Director at China Sports Media. We discussed COVID-19’s effect on the digital broadcast media rights market in China, how rights holders should react, the changes in Chinese sports fans' consumption habits, advice for international rights holders, and what he’s looking for in submissions for the Red Card 2021.
Even though the 2027 edition of the AFC Asian Cup is seven years away, that is no time at all when it comes to the establishing of planning committees and with the hosting process set to reach its next stage in December, the battle to be awarded the role of party planners will soon intensify. While it is a race that has no fewer than five serious candidates and with India, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan all declaring an intention to host Asian football’s biggest international tournament, they will soon have to supply documents regarding their intentions.
With many stadia across the continent are still unable to open their gates at present, an increased amount of focus was placed on Northern Ireland’s recent European Championship play-off tie with Slovakia. Not only because the winner would claim one of the four remaining berths for next summer’s tournament but also because there were a limited number of supporters that were permitted entry to Windsor Park.
With a number of players coming back from representing their country and subsequently collecting a dose of COVID-19 for their efforts, it comes as no surprise that international football has come in for something of a bashing as of late. As the club landscape becomes ever more dominant and the clamour for competitions such as the Premier League and LaLiga to run unimpeded grows further, the international theatre of football has been described as a nuisance as of late.
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