Closed-door matches not an option, says PSSI chief

first_imgThe Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) has assured that it will not be continuing its Liga 1 and Liga 2 soccer leagues over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, the association chief confirmed, casting off speculation of possibly organizing matches behind closed doors.During a recent teleconference with House of Representatives lawmakers, PSSI chief Mochamad “Iwan Bule” Iriawan rejected the idea of continuing the competition without spectators, an idea proposed by several members of the House Commission X overseeing sports.“We have discussed this option. FIFA hands over the decision to each federation regarding the matter but still urges safety on top of everything,” he said in a recent discussion. The Liga 1 competition, which kicked off on Feb. 29, had only entered its third-match week, while Liga 2 only held its first official match on March 14.Lawmakers were split between those who favor continuing the competitions for entertainment value in a time of crisis, and those who worry the COVID-19 outbreak is too much of a risk.“Sporting events, just like other shows on television, have lost their soul. But at least they are a source of entertainment for citizens [to weather the crisis],” said former entertainer Rano Karno, a House Commission X lawmaker from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP-P).On the other hand, Democratic Party lawmaker Yoyok Sukawi insisted that organizing matches behind closed doors would not be effective in efforts to curb the spread of the disease, as league clubs are required to be highly mobile during competitions.“Regions on the island of Java have now been categorized as red zones for COVID-19 cases. It will be difficult for clubs to obtain permits to host matches,” said Yoyok, who is also the CEO of Semarang-based soccer club PSIS.“[Organizing matches without spectators] would also result in losses for both clubs and operators. If sponsors withdraw, PSSI and the operators could go bankrupt, as 80 percent of the income comes from them.”The COVID-19 outbreak that has swept the country in the past few months has exacerbated the conditions of Indonesia’s national soccer industry. With both leagues postponed and physical distancing measures in place, there was barely any opportunity for players and coaches to prepare for the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in 2021, which Indonesia will be hosting.PSSI has long been on the receiving end of criticism, as the association battles decades of entrenched corruption and poor management.Djohar Arifin Husin, a Gerindra lawmaker and former PSSI chief between 2011 and 2015, warned the association not to forget to prepare for the Under 20 competition, noting that the PSSI had yet to discuss its plans with the House Commission X.He also criticized the association for stalling on a presidential mandate to speed up national soccer development.“It’s been a year, but there’s still nothing. The PSSI can actually make use of the opportunity to involve several ministries to work together in improving the country’s soccer industry.”President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo specifically instructed Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali at his appointment last year to “fix Indonesian soccer”, which is marred with deep-seated problems like match fixing and hooliganism.Iriawan said the association had assembled a team headed by the PSSI’s West Sulawesi regional chapter to work on a road map for the industry.He said the PSSI was maintaining communications with the world soccer body on whether or not it was planning to go ahead with the World Cup. FIFA had planned on visiting the country last month to determine the host cities, but the plan was scrapped.From a total of 11 stadiums that the PSSI had proposed to FIFA for the competition, only six would be getting the nod to host cup matches. These include Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, Gelora Bung Tomo stadium in Surabaya, East Java, and Si Jalak Harupat stadium in Bandung regency, West Java.“We will wait for the guidelines from FIFA and the government. If the coronavirus pandemic lasts only until September, we can start renovating the stadiums for the 2021 World Cup,” he said.Topics : “Looking at the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, we decided it was best to postpone the league. Even if we continued the league without spectators, there would still be at least 50 people gathering for a match.”The Jakarta administration became the first province last week to impose large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), a partial lockdown that calls for strict physical distancing measures. One such measure is to prohibit gatherings of more than five people.Other provinces soon followed suit.PSSI has moved to halt all competitions until May 29.last_img read more

Read More →

UK DB schemes see big bulk-annuity opportunities in wake of Brexit

first_imgTrustees and sponsors of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes in the UK need to take another look at risk levels in their schemes given the swiftly changing Brexit environment, and could cash in on good bulk-annuity opportunities as pricing fluctuates, according to consultants.Mercer’s UK leader of bulk pensions insurance advisory, David Ellis, said: “Rapidly changing political and economic circumstances following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union have reinforced the need for trustees and sponsors to look again at their pension schemes.”In the company’s latest market review of UK DB bulk pensions insurance, he said trustees and sponsors should check that what they were doing continued to be relevant, and that the scheme’s overall level of risk was still appropriate.In the second half of this year, market volatility will be a key theme, said Harry Harper of the Mercer division. “There is potential for significant bulk-annuity pricing opportunities to appear, for those in the right place at the right time,” he said.The second half promises to be “interesting” now that the volume of quotation requests from pension schemes increased rapidly mid-year, he said.“The nature of the quotation requests is also changing – instead of the pensioner-only pricing requests from earlier in 2016, we now see a growing number of exercises that include deferred members,” Harper said.On deferred member pricing, he said the wide range seen since the introduction of Solvency II from 1 January 2016 showed indications of stabilising. “We see signs of more aggressive pricing for those members in the second half of the year,” he said. Meanwhile, Aon Hewitt said in its UK bulk-annuity market update that, over the first half of this year, bulk annuity pricing had improved year on year relative to other asset classes used to back pension liabilities.Volatile financial markets following the EU referendum in the UK have created pricing opportunities, it said.“Some providers indicated that their pricing improved materially relative to Gilts in the first days after the Brexit vote, driven by a widening in credit spreads,” Aon Hewitt said in the report. “This was an excellent opportunity for schemes seeking to settle risk.”Of course, schemes need to be actively in the market to get such deals, it added.“A scheme can engage with the market, obtain competitive quotations, select a preferred insurer, agree terms and then monitor movements in the insurer’s pricing against an agreed trigger,” the firm said.In the first half of July, it said credit spreads had fallen back – “but there is every chance of further market disruption over the coming months given the political environment”. Earlier this week, the closed ICI Pension Fund insured £750m (€891m) of its DB liabilities with Legal & General, in its fifth buy-in, just after the EU referendum.L&G commented that the “strength and depth” of its relationship with the ICI Pension Fund had allowed it to move fast when the market opportunity arose.last_img read more

Read More →

Cambiasso announces Foxes exit

first_img Press Association New Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri had held talks with the 34-year-old, urging him to make his mind up as the club needed to know if he was staying on after his deal expired last month. In a statement on his Facebook page, the player said: ” I would like to announce that I have decided not to renew my contract with Leicester City. Midfielder Esteban Cambiasso has announced he will not renew his contract with Leicester. “I have taken this decision only 24 hours after receiving the proposal from Leicester because I want to give the club as much time as possible to find an alternative.” Cambiasso’s decision will come as a blow to Ranieri, who said on Monday – at his first press conference since replacing the axed Nigel Pearson – that keeping the former Argentina international was a priority. ”I’ve had a conversation with him. I have spoken to him, I know him from Inter Milan, I coached him there. I said to him ‘I need you, everybody loves you in Leicester, please come back’,” the Italian had said. ”He told me he wants to wait and look at all the opportunities offered to him and then he will choose. But we need ‘Yes or no’ because at the start of the season he is a team leader and if he doesn’t come I need another team leader. We don’t start the season without a player like him.” Cambiasso proved a key figure last season as Leicester won seven and drew one of their final 10 games to retain their Barclays Premier League status. The player’s statement continued: “I would like to thank all the fans who last season made me feel proud to be part of a club with an unforgettable spirit and energy. “And a very special thanks to all my team-mates, staff and every people of the club, with whom I have lived one of the most important years of my career, crowned with the remaining EPL status. “Many thanks to everyone, keeping you all forever in my heart. Leicester City Football Club.” Leicester thanked Cambiasso for his service and wished him well for the future. The club said in a statement: “Leicester City Football Club would like to express its sincerest thanks to Esteban for his exceptional contribution during the 2014/15 season, which saw the Argentine midfielder play a central role in the Club’s successful fight to remain in the Barclays Premier League. “Our efforts to retain his services began before the end of last season and the Club appreciates the professional manner in which Esteban and his representatives have conducted themselves during negotiations since that time. “We fully respect Esteban’s wishes and wish him well in his future career.” last_img read more

Read More →

Kyrgios Dumps Rotterdam Open for NBA Celebrity Game

first_imgAustralian Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of the Rotterdam Open to play in basketball’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game next February.Rotterdam tournament director Richard Krajicek released the 21-year-old from his contract so he can take part in the basketball showpiece in New Orleans. “Kyrgios prefers his passion beyond his profession,” said Krajicek.Kyrgios is suspended for eight weeks from the ATP Tour for not producing his “best effort” in Shanghai last week.The world number 14, who had won the Japan Open the previous week, patted the ball over the net several times when serving in his 6-3 6-1 second-round defeat by Mischa Zverev in China.He also began walking back to his chair before a Zverev serve had landed.Kyrgios subsequently said he was “truly sorry” and would use this time during his suspension “to improve on and off the court”.The sanction, which included a fine of $25,000 (£20,560), will keep him off the tour until 15 January, although he could return by November 7 if he agrees to an ATP plan that he consults a sports psychologist.Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon champion, has added US Open champion Stan Wawrinka to the Rotterdam field in place of Kyrgios.“We wanted to hold [Kyrgios] to his contract,” the Dutchman told the Nederlandse Omroep Stichting.“You see what can happen when he is tired and [tennis] has little meaning, as in China. We do not want that. So we decided to terminate his contract. We want a top tennis player seen on the court. Kyrgios prefers his passion beyond his profession.“If every week he is focused on tennis, he might be mentally burned out after six months. He needs an outlet.”Kyrgios represented his country at youth level as a basketball player, and said in an interview in June 2015 that he preferred the sport to tennis.Asked then if he might have had a career in basketball, Kyrgios said: “I thought I was going to. “I was trying to get there when I was 14 and every time when I’m playing now, I still think I can for some odd reason, even though I’m playing a completely different sport.“That’s just the way it is and unfortunately I think my basketball career has come to an end.”The NBA celebrity match is part of the organisation’s All-Star weekend. It features three matches, culminating in the prestigious All-Star Game on 19 February, involving the NBA’s top players.This year’s weekend was originally to have been held in Charlotte, North Carolina, but was moved after state legislators introduced laws that limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Read More →