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Hearts benefactor James Anderson provides Scottish Women’s football with largest donation in their history

The Edinburgh-based investment manager James Anderson has donated £250,000 to the Scottish Football Partnership Trust to help women’s football in Scotland through the coronavirus pandemic.

The money awarded through the Scottish Football Partnership Trust has been described as the single biggest investment in the women’s game.

When asked what compelled him to make such a generous donation, Anderson said:

“Football is at the heart of communities across Scotland, and there are not many societal organisations that bring people together nowadays, to catch them in a net when they fall. When Covid-19 struck, I realised what a significant loss it would be for towns across the country if their local SPFL club’s very survival were threatened.

“This isn’t just about the passion on the pitch, which is why we love the game, but about the responsibility our clubs take in communities across Scotland. I’ve seen first-hand over the last few years what a difference clubs can make to people’s lives, and so I am very pleased to have been able to offer my support at this difficult time.”

Vivienne MacLaren, the chair of Scottish Women’s Football meanwhile said it showed the women’s game had not been forgotten.

MacLaren said:

“This support will help provide an incredibly powerful message to all girls and women in Scotland that their sport matters and has not been forgotten in the midst of this pandemic.

“We are very grateful to James Anderson for recognising this. We are delighted that we are able to deliver this funding via the SFP Trust and thank them for their support.”

The initial phase of funding will be distributed by the trust to Scottish Women’s Premier League One and Scottish Women’s Premier League Two clubs to sustain non-playing staff and key club infrastructure. Benefits will also filter down to other Scottish Women Federation member clubs, including those at grassroots level.

SWF have already decided how the windfall will be allocated. The eight SWPL1 clubs will receive £112,000 (45 per cent), which equates to just over £14,000 per team.

The ten SWPL2 clubs will get £62,5000 (25 per cent), while SWF are retaining £75,000 (30 per cent) to cover Covid-19 shortfalls. The entire Gift Aid element – £62,500 – will be used to give teams huge discounts on their 2021 affiliations.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster added:

“We know the positive power our clubs have within their communities. During this crisis, they have stepped up to support thousands of socially isolated and vulnerable people who desperately needed help.

“On behalf of every one of the SPFL’s 42 clubs, I want to sincerely thank James for his timely and extremely generous financial support at this critical moment.”

Written by Subeer Suri

Manchester United warn of long-term economic effect of COVID-19 virus

On this day 21 years ago, ITV’s Clive Tyldesley uttered those famous words in Barcelona:

“Sheringham and Solskjaer has won it!  Manchester United have won it.”

Subsequently, The Red Devils lifted the Champions League for only the second time in their history, in so doing they completed the famous 1999 treble consisting of the Premier League, FA Cup and the prestigious European Trophy.

Fast-forward to the here and now, Manchester United has forecast that annual revenue would fall for the first time in five years after its failure to qualify for this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Manchester United say the coronavirus pandemic has cost them an initial £28 million – and expect the final figure to be far higher.

Manchester United’s Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said:

“Our third-quarter results reflect a partial impact that the pandemic has had on the club but the greater impact will be in the current quarter and likely beyond.

“These are unprecedented times and we must recognise that this crisis will not disappear overnight.

“However, our club is built on a solid foundation. We remain firmly optimistic about the long-term prospects for the club once we have worked our way through what is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary and testing periods in the 142-year history of Manchester United.”

United, however, do have history of coming back from adverse situations, most notably the Munich air disaster that affected Sir Matt Busby’s ‘Busby Babes’ in 1958.

One of the clubs best ever a player at the time, Duncan Edwards, was among them.  That year they would go onto to some how make the FA Cup final and just 12 years after that fatal incident they would lift their first European Trophy in 1968.

Chief financial officer, Cliff Baty, estimated the lockdown cost United £23 million in the final two weeks of March because of the postponement of one Premier League away fixture (worth four million pounds at Tottenham Hotspur), a home Europa League last-16 tie against LASK (Linzer Athletik- Sport- Klub), the FA Cup quarter-final at Norwich City, broadcasting reductions plus the closure of the Old Trafford megastore, Red Cafe and United Events.

The managing director, Richard Arnold, said:

“The economic ramifications from this global pandemic will continue to resonate for years to come, but we remain optimistic about the long-term outlook for the sponsorship business and our ability to remain a leader within the market.”

United are also waiting on the Football Association to make some crucial decisions that could have a big impact on their interim future.

The Football Association will remain determined to get the FA Cup, which is up to the quarter-final stage, played.

Wembley Way is quiet due to the current crisis. If the FA Cup does get back up and running this season then Wembley Way will still be silent when the final is played. The idea of football returning without fans and an empty stadium will be a quite a different feeling for the players.

That might be as good a reason as any to cancel it. Will winning the FA Cup when no fans are there to celebrate really feel like winning the FA Cup at all?

For now United’s teams are waiting to hear how their chances of lifting a trophy this season are going to be affected by football’s new terrain.

Article written by Subeer Suri

Football stars to join on the grid for Sunday’s Virtual Monaco Grand Prix

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang  will be among the guest stars logging on to show off his sim-racing skills in this Sunday’s Virtual Monaco Grand Prix.

The Gabon International is due to partner F1 driver Lando Norris in the McLaren Mercedes for this online race around the famous Monte Carlo circuit.

Aubameyang will join Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on the starting grid .  The Belgium international is set to race for Alfa Romaro again after securing an 11th place finish in the Virtual Spanish Grand Prix last time out.

Aubameyang and Courtois are due to compete against other professional F1 drivers such as Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon, who will also join the Virtual Grand Prix grid for the first time this weekend.

The race also features Virtual GP regulars Alex Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi, Charles Leclerc, Nicholas Latifi and George Russell – who secured a brilliant victory in the series last time out in the Virtual Spanish Grand Prix after a thrilling battle with Leclerc.

How to Watch

Drivers will join the race remotely, with a host broadcast live from the Gfinity Esports Arena from 1700 UTC (1800 BST).

The broadcast, which will be available here on F1.com and the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch, Weibo, Huya and Facebook channels, is expected to run for 1 hour 30 minutes, with a qualifying period followed by a 39-lap race.

The Virtual Grand Prix will also be broadcast live with international broadcast partners in over 100 countries, including in the UK on Sky Sports F1, Main Event and Mix.

In the US meanwhile it will be shown on ESPN and FOX Sports Asia across Southeast Asia.

Article written by Subeer Suri