SBC’s on the ball: Newcastle United, Euro 2020 and the Kuwaiti national team

From sponsorship to the ever-expanding world of football media coverage, when it comes to the business of football, SBC has you covered. This edition breaks down the progress of  takeover talks at Newcastle United, and looks at the repercussions of the World Cup failure of the USA. 

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Gulati opts not to seek re-election after World Cup failure

The US Soccer president, Sunil Gulati, has announced that after serving for 12 years as the most powerful man in American soccer, he will not seek re-election for a fourth term. The decision comes after the USMNT failed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Gulati has been a key figure in the growth of the sport in America for the past 30 years, spearheading the campaign that brought the 1994 World Cup to the country, as well as working as the Deputy Commissioner of Major League Soccer since it was formed its formation in 1999.

Discussing the decision with ESPN on Monday, Gulati said: “I spent a lot of time thinking about it and talking about it with people in many different positions – many of whom told me I should run, but in the end, I think the best thing for me personally, and for the federation, is to see someone new in the job.”

Looking ahead, there’s a wide pool of candidates looking to replace the 58 year old, with former national team players Paul Caligiuri, Eric Wynalda and Kyle Martino all being touted for the role. Away from football, Lawyers Steve Gans, Michael Winograd and Paul LaPointe are all also in the frame.

Brussels loses right to host EURO 2020 matches

Following delays in the development of its new Eurostadium, Brussels has lost the right to host any matches at the Euro 2020 Championship. The decision means that Wembley will step in and host an additional four matches at the tournament, with the UK’s biggest stadium now hosting a total of seven championship matches. As a one-off to celebrate the tournament’s 60th anniversary, games are scheduled to be played over 12 cities across Europe, with both Semi – finals and the final being played at Wembley, whilst Roma’s Stadio Olimpico will set the stage for the tournament opener.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin commented: “We discussed with Brussels for quite a long time and they were not able to provide us with all the documentation. Today we don’t know if they can build a stadium or not. They still don’t have the documents. They didn’t expect a decision until January and they did not know whether that would be yes or no. Experts from our administration felt it was a high risk for UEFA to wait. If the answer had been no, it would have been a problem for us to find a new stadium.”

In a statement after the decision, Koen De Brabander, Chief Executive of the Belgian Football Association responded: “Missing out on Euro 2020 does not necessarily mean a death blow for our stadium plans. We absolutely need a new 45,000-seat stadium and we hope that the competent ministers will grant the permit in January so that a stadium for the 21st century can finally be built in our country.”

Takeover talks spicing up at Newcastle

It would appear that a deal between Mike Ashley and British businesswoman Amanda Staveley over the sale of Newcastle United is edging closer as the pair met for a curry in London this week. Staveley, who is known for her links to Middle Eastern investors and even helped broker the takeover of Manchester City has opened the bidding with £250 million offer. However, Ashley has remained stubborn in demanding £300 million, with no relegation payback clause to bring his decade long tenure at St James Park to a close.

What will be worrying for Toon fans is that the deal may take longer first anticipated, meaning negotiations will continue through the January transfer window, something that will serve to frustrate the club’s Champions League winning manager Rafa Benitez, who has remained adamant that he needs spending power in the upcoming window.

FIFA lifts 2-year ban on Kuwaiti national team

FIFA has announced the lifting of the suspension given to the Kuwait Football Association (KFA). The ban was imposed back in October 2015 as a result of excessive government interference in the country’s sporting bodies, but the Gulf state’s parliament adopted a new law in order to prevent further interference. Kuwait remains suspended by the International Olympic Committee. Its athletes competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio as an independent team.

Football Business Academy takes steps to encourage more female representation

The Football Business Academy, a British educational institution dedicated to the football industry, has announced measures that will encourage higher numbers of female students. The academy has done so by offering two scholarship opportunities per intake for women interested in studying a Master in Football Business. The stated aim is to find and empower more talented women with aspirations of working in the football industry, and change the status quo for the better.

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