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  • Shauna Rush


Here is this week's dose of “5-Point Friday”. A weekly round-up of the sports news and stories that I find most interesting and enjoyable.

Soccer news I am excited about -

KNVB, Dutch soccer's governing body, has approved a new pilot scheme that will allow amateur women to play in a senior men's soccer team. 19-year-old Elle Fokkema, will be the first woman to make the move, joining Dutch fourth-tier side VV Foarút for the 2020-21 season.

The pilot could lead to regulations amended permanently to allow more women to play 'category A' men's soccer. "The KNVB stands for diversity and equality," the organization's head of development Art Langeler said. "We believe that there should be room for everyone in every way in football."

eSports news I am learning about -

The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) ended its partnership with Neom, a Saudi Arabian smart city planned for completion in 2025, less than a day after announcing the deal.

Neom was set to be the main partner from week seven of the LEC summer season, alongside the likes of Alienware, Kia, and KitKat. However, the tie-up drew considerable backlash over Saudi Arabia’s anti-LGBT laws, with many fans stating they would boycott the league. People also drew attention to the LEC currently using a rainbow version of its logo on its broadcasts and social handles in support of German Pride.

LEC's parent company swiftly released a statement confirming the termination of the partnership.

As a company and as a league, we know that it’s important to recognise when we make mistakes and quickly work to correct them,'  said Alberto Guerrero (@Tiroless), director of esports, EMEA, at Riot Games. 'After further reflection, while we remain steadfastly committed to all of our players and fans worldwide including those living in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, the LEC has ended its partnership with Neom, effective immediately.

‘In an effort to expand our esports ecosystem, we moved too quickly to cement this partnership and caused rifts in the very community we seek to grow. While we missed our own expectations in this instance, we’re committed to re-examining our internal structures to ensure this doesn't happen again.’

Korean sports news I am following -

Soccer fans in South Korea were allowed back into stadiums for the first time, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 9,000 fans attended the K-League’s six fixtures over the weekend, as Jeonbuk Hyundai, Seongnam FC, Incheon United, Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Gangwon FC and Busan I Park played home matches.

Teams were only allowed to sell up to 10% of their stadium's capacity, totaling 13,194 across all six stadiums. However, the 8,984 who did chose to attend faced a number of new rules. Tickets were sold exclusively online and fans had to enter the stadium in an orderly and socially-distanced manner, checking in through QR codes. Food and drink were banned from the stadium, and mask-wearing was required at all times.

However, despite these changes, the return of fans is set to be a massive boost to the league and clubs.

Football news I am keeping an eye on -

The XFL has been sold to a group that includes former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock’’ Johnson, giving the bankrupt football league the kind of star power that may draw even non-sports fans. Johnson teamed up with Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital to buy the rights to the league for $15 million.

“I could not imagine a better outcome for the XFL. Dany, Dwayne, and Gerry are the best possible ownership group for the exciting journey ahead," said XFL President Jeffrey Pollack, who oversaw the sale process for the league. “Their collective track-record of success in entertainment, sports and media is stellar, and I think our fans, players, coaches, and partners are in for something special.”

However, lawyers representing hundreds of creditors in the XFL’s bankruptcy case filed an objection to the sale of the shuttered league’s assets awarded to a group of investors. Among the issues raised in the 14-page filing is the relationship between Johnson and Vince McMahon, Johnson’s former boss at WWE where The Rock rose to stardom as arguably the most popular wrestler of his generation.

The critiques were later rebutted by sworn declarations from Pollack and other directors, who detailed steps taken by the league to attract bidders during this period. The deal is expected to be completed by August 21st.

Series I have been enjoying -

Matchday Menus with Adam Richman, from Copa90. The series sees Adam Richman (@AdamRichman) travel across the U.S. and Europe to explore the local communities and flavors that make every soccer experience uniquely special.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!



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