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Mo Salah expected to stay at Liverpool despite ‘crazy’ Saudi interest

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Liverpool defender Andy Robertson insists the players have no concerns about “ultimate professional” Mohamed Salah’s immediate future as speculation of a potential world-record bid from Saudi Arabia continues.

Pro League champions Al-Ittihad last week had a £150million offer rejected by Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon, who now considers the matter closed.

However, that has not done anything to prevent suggestions they could return with a bid around the £200m mark for the 31-year-old, who is the world’s highest-profile Arab player.

Manager Jurgen Klopp reiterated the club’s stance after the 3-0 win over Aston Villa, in which Salah scored and had a hand in the other two goals, and Robertson said the squad were united in their belief there would be no departure before Thursday’s closure of the Saudi transfer window.

“For us we block that out, Mo blocks it out. We let other people talk about that,” he said.

“For us there is no concern. For us Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player and we believe that is what is going to be the case for the foreseeable future.

“He’s the ultimate professional. He does what it does, he is one of the best players in the world and he is professional.

“He lets other people do the talking, let’s other people say what they have to say, but he’s always been committed to Liverpool and you saw that with the performance he put in.

“The club’s position was that it knocked it back, it rejected the bid and that is what the stance was.

For us there is no concern. For us Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player and we believe that is what is going to be the case for the foreseeable future

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson
“For me Mo has been Mo all week. He’s not been affected; I’ve been around him a lot and he’s not been affected by anything.

“Mo has reacted in the best way possible and I think you have seen that with his performance, I think he was pretty special.”

At every media appearance over the last two weeks Klopp and the players have had to deal with questions about the future of Salah, who has two years left on a contract signed last summer which made him the highest-paid player in the club’s history.

But Robertson said it had not been destabilising or affected the squad’s focus as they made it 10 points from a possible 12 to head into the international break in third place in the Premier League.

“Look, there is speculation around a lot of players and it is how we deal with it and he (Salah) has obviously done well,” he added.

“Our squad is what it is and that’s the squad that is going to go forward now with the window shut.

“It is about getting the most out of the squad, it is about looking forward to the season ahead and trying to do better than what we did last season.”

Dominik Szoboszlai scored his first goal for the club against Aston Villa (Mike Egerton/PA)
Dominik Szoboszlai scored his first goal for the club against Aston Villa (Mike Egerton/PA)

After some criticism over recruitment following the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, coincidentally to Saudi Pro League clubs, Liverpool’s squad looks refreshed and re-energised.

World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, both signed before the start of pre-season, are starting to look like the long-term future of midfield they were brought in to be, with the latter scoring his first goal for the club against Villa in an impressive all-round performance in a comfortable victory.

“I thought it was probably our best performance of the season so far, which is pleasing,” said Robertson.

“I thought they (the midfield) were excellent, but to be honest I thought every player was excellent – even the subs who came on – it was a complete squad performance.”

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F1 signs multi-year extension to ‘US$40m-a-year’ DHL deal

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Formula One has agreed a multi-year expansion of its global partnership with logistics company DHL.

Contract:

  • DHL will continue as the series’ global logistics partner
  • The extension is described as a ‘longer-term commitment’, suggesting a longer contract than the four-year extension signed in 2021.

Context:

This latest extension builds on a 20-year relationship between Formula One and DHL, with the most recent deal worth around US$40 million per season, according to sponsorship analytics platform Luscid.

Recently, DHL has worked with Formula One on reducing emissions produced by logistics, with a biofuel trial during the European leg of last season resulting in an 83 per cent reduction.

Comment:

“As our longest-standing partner, DHL has become such a crucial part of the delivery of our events, so we’re delighted to continue that successful collaboration for many more years,” said Jonny Haworth, director of commercial partnerships for Formula One.

“Our partnership has seen the sport transform and grow, and DHL have been hugely supportive in our transition to become a more sustainable sport.

“This will continue to be key as we move towards 2030 and as sustainable logistics continue to develop, I look forward to seeing the positive innovations that come next.”

Coming next:

The 2024 Formula One season gets underway this week with the Bahrain Grand Prix from 29th February to 2nd March.

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CAF to make about $75m in estimated revenue for AFCON 2023

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At the Stade Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan last Sunday, mixed emotions filled the air. Heartbreak for the Super Eagles of Nigeria and joy for the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, who clinched the AFCON 2023 trophy with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria.

Ivory Coast’s remarkable journey to lifting the trophy concluded a thrilling AFCON, making it the best experience so far.

 

During the Africa Cup of Nations opening ceremony on January 13th, CAF President Patrice Motsepe expressed optimism that AFCON 2023 would be the best so far. The events and drama that unfolded in Abidjan undoubtedly support this claim.

 

Before the final of the competition, Dr Patrice Motsepe mentioned in a press conference that nearly 2 billion people had tuned in to watch AFCON 2023.

 

The notable rise in viewership was linked to broader broadcast rights, media coverage, commercial partnerships, and the influence of social media.

CAF had 17 commercial partners for the tournament, which included TotalEnergies as the title sponsor, official sponsors such as 1xBet, Visa, and Orange, along with regional sponsors like Ecobank, Unilever, and MTN.

 

Matches were shown in about 180 countries through deals with partner broadcasters like Sky, Canal+, beIN Sport, BBC, and MultiChoice, as well as 45 Free To Air broadcasters.

 

Media accreditation saw 6,000 journalists apply, which is double the number from the last AFCON in Cameroon in 2022.

How Many People Viewed AFCON 2021 and how it compares to AFCON 2023? 

The CAF activity report for 2021-2022 indicates that around 500 million viewers from 160 nations tuned in to watch AFCON 2021 in Cameroon, marking an increase of 40 nations compared to AFCON 2019 in Egypt.

 

Additionally, CAF recorded 1.4 billion streaming impressions on its digital platforms, and there were 351.4 million online video views associated with AFCON Cameroon 2021.

 

By sticking to the earlier estimate of 2 billion people before the final, it suggests that AFCON viewership saw an increase of over 300%, and this could be more when the official report from CAF is released.

Estimated Sponsorship Revenue for AFCON 2023 

According to GlobalData, a London-based market research firm, it is projected that CAF will generate approximately $75 million in sponsorship revenue from the current AFCON.

 

The tournament featured 17 commercial partners, including TotalEnergies as the title sponsor, along with 1xBet, Orange, and Unilever.

 

In the fiscal year 2021-2022, CAF’s overall revenue reached $103.6 million. The sponsorship funds derived from Competitions contributed significantly to this total, generating an impressive cumulative revenue of $79.8 million.

 

This marked a notable increase of $3.6 million compared to the previous year’s sponsorship funds.

 

The projected sponsorship revenue for the AFCON 2023 alone is estimated to be $75 million, underscoring the substantial and commendable contribution of CAF to this achievement.

PRIZE MONEY FOR AFCON 2023 

In January, prior to the commencement of AFCON 2023, CAF disclosed a 40% increase in the prize money.

 

The champions, Ivory Coast, are set to receive USD 7,000,000. The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be awarded USD 4,000,000, while South Africa and DR Congo will each receive USD 2,500,000.

 

The other four quarter-finalists, Mali, Angola, Guinea, and Cape Verde, will individually get USD 1,300,000.

AFCON 2023 SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACT 

AFCON made a big impact on social media, from lively fan chats to live updates. But it wasn’t just for fun; some people also made money from it.

 

Last year, Twitter started an initiative where users could earn a share of the ad revenue from sponsored posts under their tweets.

 

Some folks partnered with brands, joined subscription programs, or got tips from their followers.

 

For example, a video of the final moments of the Côte d’Ivoire vs. Nigeria match, posted on the official CAF account, got over 15 million views, 1.5 million likes, and 300,000 retweets.

 

According to Statista, the average cost per thousand impressions for social media ads globally was $4.33 in the second quarter of 2023, making the estimated ad revenue around $65,000.

 

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations was undoubtedly a success both on and off the field. The Confederation of African Football, CAF can take pride in organizing a splendid tournament.

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Premier League approves Ratcliffe £1.02bn stake in Man Utd

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British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25% stake in Manchester United has been approved by the Premier League.

United also expect clearance from the Football Association with Ratcliffe keen to complete the deal by mid-February that will give him control of football operations at Old Trafford.

Confirming their approval, a Premier League statement on Tuesday said: “Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of 25 per cent of Manchester United FC, and further investment of $300 million in the club, has been approved by the Premier League Board, following the completion of the Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

“The Board agreed to the change of the club’s ownership structure last week, and this has now been officially ratified by an Independent Oversight Panel. The Premier League’s Owners’ Charter has also been signed.

“The Premier League now awaits confirmation of the transaction’s completion.”

It was announced on Christmas Eve that Ratcliffe had agreed to buy a minority stake in United from unpopular owners the Glazer family in a deal worth around £1.02 billion. He will also invest a further £238 million in the club’s infrastructure.

The 71-year-old boyhood United fan is reportedly already planning to lead an overhaul of the squad after a season that is improving following a slow start.

The Glazers have come under heavy criticism from fans who blame them for a steady decline in the fortunes of the 20-time English league champions after a period of domination under manager Alex Ferguson who retired in 2013, the last time they won the league title.

Many fans had hoped the Glazers would sell the club in full, although Ratcliffe’s investment has been welcomed.

 

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