AHEAD OF THE GAME: Chelsea could see FIFA Club World Cup campaign moved away from Japan… while Sky and BT both RESIST chance to request switch and show Cristiano Ronaldo’s likely return for Manchester United
- Chelsea could see the FIFA Club World Cup moved from Japan due to Covid-19
- FIFA want fans to attend the tournament in December which may not be possible
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential return for Man Utd won’t be live on British TV
- Meanwhile, West Ham bidders PAI Capital have gone quiet after their first offer
- Hammers owner David Sullivan rejected the company’s opening bid for the club
Chelsea’s attempt to win the Club World Cup for the first time later this year is mired in uncertainty as the tournament could be moved away from Japan due to the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
FIFA want fans to be able to attend their flagship club competition, which will be difficult to achieve in Japan as the country battles a fifth wave of infections and continues to struggle with a slow vaccination rollout.
The political fallout from the Japanese government’s handling of the pandemic, including their controversial decision to proceed with the Olympics and Paralympics, intensified this week with the shock resignation of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga after just 12 months in office.
Chelsea could see December’s FIFA Club World Cup moved from Japan due to Covid-19
His successor following next month’s general election is unlikely to sanction an international invasion of football supporters in December.
Qatar is the obvious alternative venue after the emirate hosted the delayed 2020 Club World Cup, which was won by Bayern Munich in February.
FIFA’s ambitious plans for the tournament have already been affected by the pandemic after they were forced to postpone the expansion to a new 24-club format to be held in China, originally planned for June this year.
RONALDO RETURN WILL NOT BE ON BRITISH TV
Sky Sports and BT Sport have resisted the temptation to request a change to their televised matches this month to enable them to show Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut for Manchester United against Newcastle next Saturday.
Both have opted to stick with their initial selections and bypass the 3pm kick-off at Old Trafford to avoid inconveniencing fans, not least as there is no guarantee Ronaldo will start.
As a result, Radio Five Live will be the only place to follow the action live if Ronaldo does play, although Sky are likely to make Newcastle’s visit to Old Trafford their game of the day with full highlights available from 8:30pm.
Sky Sports and BT Sport have not requested to change their televised matches this month to show Cristiano Ronaldo’s second Man United debut
WEST HAM BIDDERS GO QUIET
West Ham have not heard back from the high-profile bidders for the club, PAI Capital, since the company’s managing director Nasib Piriyev went public with their interest three weeks ago — which was first revealed by Sportsmail the previous month.
After gaining celebrity endorsements from West Ham legends such as Rio Ferdinand and Tony Cottee, the Azerbaijan businessman provided details of a bid he insisted remained live — including the claim that the club had given PAI full access to their books over a period of two months.
However, since the offer was turned down by owner David Sullivan, PAI Capital have yet to return with a counter offer.
West Ham owner David Sullivan rejected the opening offer from bidders PAI Capital
LEEDS FEEL THE COST
Leeds’ reluctance to pay a £1.5million loan fee to Swansea for Daniel James two and a half years ago has ended up costing them 10 times that amount after they finally signed the Wales international for £25m from Manchester United this week.
The Yorkshire club had secured an option to buy James for just £10m at the end of the 2018-19 season but refused to meet Swansea’s demands for a loan fee to cover the remainder of the campaign, which led to the player eventually joining United for £15m in June 2019.
A STELLAR TRANSFER WINDOW
Stellar Sports and Unique Sports Management were the biggest winners among the agencies during the summer transfer window.
It proved a tough market for intermediaries, with trading players from the Premier League to European clubs proving difficult.
Several high-profile players whose families manage their careers found the summer frustrating, with Harry Kane, Declan Rice and Callum Hudson-Odoi all failing to secure transfers.
Several high-profile players whose families manage their careers, including Harry Kane, found the summer frustrating