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Barcelona and Rakuten extend partnership for 2021/22 Season

Rakuten has renewed its partnership with the Spanish football giant, Barcelona for an additional season.

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FC Barcelona has extended its sports sponsorship deal with Rakuten, a global leader in internet services headquartered in Japan, for the 2020/21 season.

The Japanese e-commerce firm, Rakuten will remain as FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner and Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner, and its brand name will continue to appear on the front of the first team shirt in the 2021/22 season.

The deal began in the 2017-18 season and is due to expire on June 30, 2021. The deal has an option of a fifth year which was available in the original agreement that was executed.

The deal was activated by Josep Maria Bartomeu’s board, before Josep’s resignation in October, and the deal is not reviewable by whoever wins the forthcoming election.

The initial agreement was €55million per year but can rise to €61.5million should all bonuses triggered by winning the Laliga and the Champions League be fulfilled. However, according to reports, the agreement has been reduced due to the financial impact of a post-covid world.

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SPORTS

Serbian billionaire, Dragan Solak, completes Southampton FC takeover in £100 million deal

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Premier League side, Southampton Football Club has confirmed via a club statement that Sports Republic led by Serbian businessman, Dragan Solak, has completed the acquisition of a controlling stake in the club.

The deal will bring to an end the majority ownership of Chinese businessman, Gao Jisheng who has been looking to sell the 80 per cent stake he purchased in the club since 2017. The club confirmed that Katharina Liebherr will retain her 20 per cent minority shareholding.

According to Sky Sports, the deal which involves Gao Jisheng and sport and entertainment investment firm, Sport Republic, is reportedly worth £100million.

Martin Semmens, CEO of Southampton Football Club, said, “Today we welcome a new beginning with a new ownership group. We have found partners with ambition for the future, but with a clear understanding of what Southampton stands for and the direction we must go in now. The strategy is to push forward with the plans we have had in place over the last two years, but with their support we can now do this with a renewed focus and speed. Continuity, stability, and clarity of the way forward are equally as important as the new initiatives and ideas we can now bring to the club.”

“Everyone at Southampton welcomes Dragan, Henrik, Rasmus and the people within Sport Republic to our great club. We searched the world for good people with the ambition and resources to lead us into the next era and I am happy to confirm we have found them. We can’t wait to get started and be part of the future of Sport Republic,” he added.

Commenting on the agreement, the Lead Investor of Sport Republic, Dragan Šolak said, “My partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry and Sport Republic has been founded to combine this expertise and deliver something unique to the market.

“Southampton has so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organisation. It has a great management team, excellent talent development, talented teams playing attractive football and a dedicated fan base.”

“We are delighted to be able to complete this acquisition as a first step towards execution of our investment strategy. Southampton will be a cornerstone of the organisation we plan to build,” he added.

The Chairman of Sport Republic, Henrik Kraft, added, “Southampton’s CEO Martin Semmens will continue to run the day-to-day operations of the club, and Sport Republic will be working closely with him and his team to help the club grow.”

Who is Dragan Solak?

Born in 1964, Dragan Šolak is the lead investor of Sport Republic. He is also the founder and chairman of the Advisory Board of United Group.

Šolak has founded and developed many other companies in the past, his first being the motion picture production and distribution company, VANS, which he established in 1990 with a group of friends and movie enthusiasts.

The Serbian tycoon founded his telecommunications company back in 2000 and turned it from a cable operator in Serbia into a regional leader, delivering services across eight countries.

Šolak is also a passionate golfer who was deeply involved in the development of golf in the Balkan region and serves as the Chairman of the Board of the international golf group, Eligo.

What is Sport Republic?

Sport Republic is a London-based investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry. Founded by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen and backed by lead investor Dragan Šolak, Sport Republic’s vision is to apply proprietary intelligence and data analytics to help sports businesses and sports technology companies reach their full potential.

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CAF to increase 2021 AFCON prize money for winner from $4.5 million

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Africa’s football governing body, Confederation of African Football (CAF), has disclosed its desire to increase the prize money for the winner for the 33rd edition of its flagship competition, the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The CAF President, Dr Patrice Motsepe, revealed this on Tuesday night at Yaounde, Cameroon during the draws for the 2021 AFCON. The President also confirmed that players of the country that wins the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations will receive separate prize money from that of the country.

Motsepe said, “We want to increase the prize money and we are in discussions with sponsors because we have to show the world that African football is as good and amongst the best in the world.

“One of the things we want to do is to provide on top of the prize money which will be won by the winning nation, is to put aside prize money so that the nation that wins the AFCON next year, there is prize money that will go to the players so that we’ll not experience the problems we’ve had in the past.

“Players are demotivated when they qualify because they don’t know how much they will earn by way of bonuses. We are working on those things.”

In the 2019 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations at Egypt, CAF shared a total of $14.2 million amongst the best eight teams at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in the form of prize money, according to Bestchoicesports.

Winner – $4.5million
Runners-up – $2.5million
Third place – $2million
Fourth place – $2million
Quarter finalists – $3.2million ( $800,000 for four teams)

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations which is in its 33rd edition is scheduled to run from the 9th of January till the 6th of February.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria is seeded in Group D with the likes of Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau. The Super Eagles will play their first match against Egypt on the 11th of January.

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Anthony Joshua to earn up to £15 miliom against Oleksandr Usyk

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WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua is set to face off against Ukrainian Olympics medalist and former unified cruiserweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk tonight at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London where over 60,000 fans are predicted to be in attendance, according to SportingNews.

The fight could be one of the toughest fights in Joshua’s career and this would be his second time defending his belt after he reclaimed them from Andy Ruiz Jr in the rematch at Saudi Arabia after he suffered the first loss of his career.

The winner of the bout between Joshua and Usyk might likely face off Tyson Fury, the WBC and The Ring champion, or Deontay Wilder. This contest will be the last fight of Joshua’s multi-million-pound deal with Sky, who have shown all 25 of AJ’s professional fights.

How much would Anthony Joshua likely earn from the bout?

Joshua and Usyk are the second-and fourth-ranked fighters in the heavyweight division, according to ESPN, and established champions, so the payday for each competitor is also expected to be substantial.

In AJ’s last contest against Kubrat Pulev in December 2020, he earned around £10 million which was majorly caused by the pandemic where he had fought in front of fewer fans in attendance.

According to Totalsportal, Joshua is set to earn around £10 million guaranteed plus share of PPV sales. If the bout sells around 450,000 pay-per-view buys in the U. K, Joshua could make £15 million, while Usyk is set to earn around £3 million guaranteed plus PPV sales and could earn around £1-2 million from PPV sales. This would be the biggest purse of Usyk’s career.

It is unclear what the split of the pay-per-view percentage will be for this bout, but Sporting Free reported the total could be 60 percent for Joshua and 40 percent for Usyk.

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