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Coronavirus: Sports associations in Singapore stretched but strive to keep staff, salaries intact

SINGAPORE – It has been almost eight weeks since all sporting events in Singapore were halted by the..

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SINGAPORE – It has been almost eight weeks since all sporting events in Singapore were halted by the Government as the Republic battled to stem the spread of the coronavirus, and some sports bodies are feeling the pinch.

While government funding is still intact, the various National Sports Association (NSA) also rely on other sources of revenue from organising competitions and events and sponsorship. Both streams have been affected by the pandemic while corporate partners are looking to cut costs amidst the economic uncertainty.

But the majority of the 15 NSA leaders The Straits Times reached out to said they remain committed to retaining their full-time staff, and pledged not to introduce salary reductions even as they look to cost-cutting measures in other areas.

In response to queries, Sport Singapore (SportSG) said it continues to provide support to NSAs – as it did before Covid-19 – via its grants.

While noting the situation is "unprecedented… for all", Singapore Sport Institute chief Toh Boon Yi said: "We are cognisant of the challenges during this period and strongly urge all NSAs to refrain from cutting or reducing jobs and wages.

"While we understand that each respective NSA has been impacted differently and that they have to make their respective business decisions, we hope to see them reboot in strength when the situation turns for the better."

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS), the biggest NSA here with almost 60 full-time staff, recently moved to assure its staff that their jobs and salaries were safe.

General secretary Yazeen Buhari told ST: "While the pandemic has inevitably affected revenue for the organisation, the FAS considers the well-being of every staff member to be of the utmost importance to the organisation.

"Hence every effort was made to ensure that no full-time staff member's employment status would be affected as a result of the pandemic. This was made possible with our internal resource re-allocation to ensure we remain sustainable during this period."

The FAS runs the country's only professional sports league, the 25-year-old Singapore Premier League (SPL). It disbursed a supplementary subsidy of over $600,000 last month to seven local clubs so that players would continue to be paid their full wages.

The average monthly player wage bill for each SPL club ranges between $75,000 and $100,000. Some had considered wage reductions for players after jackpot operations – a key revenue stream – were halted as part of the Government's plan to tackle the Covid-19 problem.

Other leading sports bodies also indicated that job or salary cuts were not on the horizon for their staff. In order to achieve this, the Singapore Badminton Association said it would be "prudent" with its finances while Singapore Athletics noted that "alternative cost-saving strategies" would be sought "where possible".

Only one NSA has a registered business unit – the Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF), which set up SingaporeBowling Pte Ltd in 2015 to manage a $3.5 million, 38-lane centre, which opened the same year at Temasek Club.

It was set up to help the association gain financial independence from the Government in the long run.

The SBF has seen one of its revenue streams affected because of the temporary closure of its bowling centre. Its executive director Melvyn Fones said the organisation was "focused on keeping our team and staff engaged and preparing programmes" once the circuit breaker measures are fully lifted.

Singapore will begin opening up in phases from June 2 but it is unclear when sport will be able to resume.

The Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) had set up a commercial arm, Rugby SRead More – Source

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Diego Maradona: Argentina legend dies aged 60

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Football legend Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 60.

The former Argentina attacking midfielder and manager suffered a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home.

He had successful surgery on a brain blood clot earlier in November and was to be treated for alcohol dependency.

Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals.

Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi paid tribute to Maradona, saying he was “eternal”.

“A very sad day for all Argentines and football,” said Messi. “He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal.

“I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I send my condolences to all his family and friends.”

In a statement on social media, the Argentine Football Association expressed “its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend”, adding: “You will always be in our hearts.”

Declaring three days of national mourning, Alberto Fernandez, the president of Argentina, said: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all.

“Thank you for having existed, Diego. We’re going to miss you all our lives.”

Maradona played for Barcelona and Napoli during his club career, winning two Serie A titles with the Italian side. He started his career with Argentinos Juniors, also playing for Sevilla, and Boca Juniors and Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland.

He scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, representing them in four World Cups.

Maradona led his country to the 1990 final in Italy, where they were beaten by West Germany, before captaining them again in the United States in 1994, but was sent home after failing a drugs test for ephedrine.

During the second half of his career, Maradona struggled with cocaine addiction and was banned for 15 months after testing positive for the drug in 1991.

He retired from professional football in 1997, on his 37th birthday, during his second stint at Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

Having briefly managed two sides in Argentina during his playing career, Maradona was appointed head coach of the national team in 2008 and left after the 2010 World Cup, where his side were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals.

He subsequently managed teams in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico and was in charge of Gimnasia y Esgrima in Argentina’s top flight at the time of his death.

World pays tribute

Brazil legend Pele led tributes to Maradona, writing on Twitter: “What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky.”

Former England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, who was part of the England team beaten by Argentina at the 1986 World Cup, said Maradona was “by some distance, the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time”.

Ex-Tottenham and Argentina midfielder Ossie Ardiles said: “Thank dear Dieguito for your friendship, for your football, sublime, without comparison. Simply, the best football player in the history of football. So many enjoyable moments together. Impossible to say which one was the best. RIP my dear friend.”

Juventus and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo said: “Today I bid farewell to a friend and the world bids farewell to an eternal genius. One of the best of all time. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”

Boca Juniors, where Maradona enjoyed two spells and finished his career, gave “eternal thanks” to their former player.

Paris St-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar posted a photo of him as a youngster with Maradona, calling the Argentine a “legend of football”.

England captain Harry Kane and forward Marcus Rashford also paid tribute.

Barcelona was the first club outside of Argentina that Maradona played for. He scored 22 goals in 36 appearances between 1982 and 1984.

Another of Maradona’s former clubs, Napoli, paid tribute. He played for the club between 1984 and 1991, making 188 appearances.

‘It was in football he found his peace’ – analysis

He was an everyman Argentine, who lived out a national fantasy with the way he scored his two goals in that 1986 quarter-final win over England.

Scoring those goals, against that opponent, turned Maradona almost into a deity in the eyes of some of his compatriots – with disastrous consequences. Living the aftermath was not easy.

Without the discipline of football, the second half of his life was a chaotic affair.

But it was in football that he seemed to find his peace. As a fan he would turn up at the stadium of his beloved Boca Juniors, take off his shirt, swirl it around his head and lead the chanting.

For many his spontaneity and fallibility were part of the appeal.

His admirers thrived on the way he would fall down only to get back up again. It humanised a figure whose epic life was as mazy as one of his left-footed dribbles.

 Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/54810392

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffers a hamstring injury and faces a month out of action

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If AC Milan’s 3-1 victory away to Napoli on Sunday really made people sit up and begin to take the Rossoneri seriously as Scudetto contenders, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hamstring injury suffered in the same match has done just as much to temper expectations within the club.

The Swedish forward has been the talisman for the Italian giants for pretty much all of the time since he returned to the club in January, however he now faces a month on the sidelines through injury.Fortunately for Stefano Pioli, Ibrahimovic isn’t thought to be at risk of missing the top-of-the-table clashes with both Lazio and Juventus, which are due to be played on December 23 and January 6, but there will need to be a certain amount of reshuffling to replace a player who has already found the net 10 times in six Serie A matches this term.

He left his mark on the match with Napoli by scoring a brace, and he brings so much leadership to the team, as well as goals.His hamstring will be reassessed in 10 days’ time, but the usual recovery timeframe for these injuries is around 3-4 weeks.Whilst the Juventus match shouldn’t be impacted, Ibrahimovic will miss crucial Europa League matches against Lille and Celtic, whilst Fiorentina will relish facing Milan without the Swede on November 29

Read from source: https://www.marca.com/en/football/international-football/2020/11/23/5fbbf91622601d3e768b4616.html

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FC Barcelona to hold election on January 24

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FC Barcelona’s presidential elections will be held on January 24, 2021, as decided by the club’s interim managerial board on Thursday evening. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, voting will be decentralized rather than being held solely in the club’s usual Camp Nou ground.

Speculations about the date had occurred in the last few weeks, with some reporting the elections would take place on January 15.

This comes after scandal-ridden ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu quit on October 27 to be replaced by current interim president Carles Tusquets.

Bartomeu’s departure came ahead of a censure motion planned for the weekend following his exit. He stated his decision to leave the position was due to coronavirus concerns over the possible vote of no confidence.

Ten pre-candidates will be announced for members to choose from, seven have already been confirmed officially whilst three others are expected to in the coming days.

Decentralized voting

Although decentralization has been agreed, the exact voting process remains to be decided.

Telematic voting has been virtually ruled out. The two leading options would be setting up different polling stations across Catalonia or extending the voting period over two days.

In the end, the club will be forced to adapt to the evolving Covid-19 situation in the area, and they will meet at the weekend with the Catalan health and sports ministers to further discuss the issue.

The date of the start of the electoral campaign has, however, yet to be revealed. It is expected that once it begins, this will cut out around half of the possible presidential candidates, as they all need 2,257 endorsements to make the cut.

New hope

Much hope is being placed on the presidential election after a string of bad events for the men’s football team. In the Champions League, the club suffered their worst defeat, 2-8 against Bayern Munich in August.

This was followed by the surprise announcement by football star Leo Messi that he wanted to quit the club last September, although he did not quite following a legal back and forth with Bartomeu.

Read from source: https://www.catalannews.com/sports/item/fc-barcelona-to-hold-election-on-january-24

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