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How coronavirus has affected football’s transfer industry

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With football having ground to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic, the usual transfer rumour mill has fallen silent and nobody cares much where Neymar or Paul Pogba might be playing next season.

Nobody even knows when next season might be, and the financial impact on football clubs, and therefore the transfer market, is likely to be significant.

A study by KPMG this week estimated that cancelling the rest of this season would cost clubs across Europe’s top five leagues as much as four billion euros ($4.33 billion) in lost revenue.

The knock-on effect could be enormous, trickling down to smaller clubs worldwide.

After all, look at a club like Monaco, who have raked in huge sums in recent years from selling players like Kylian Mbappe, who went to Paris Saint-Germain in 2018 for 180 million euros. They have then invested that money in new recruits, helping spread the wealth.

“Given the international situation, clubs are going to be less inclined to pay the kind of sums we look for,” admitted Monaco’s vice-president, Oleg Petrov.

Nevertheless, beyond worrying about who Mbappe, Neymar or Pogba could sign for, there is a more pressing concern.

Uefa’s commitment to ending the European season by June 30 was surely partly because it is common practice for contracts to run until that date.

Players like Manchester City’s David Silva, Willian at Chelsea, or Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani, will be free to leave on July 1 even if the season has not been completed.

Fifa has set up a working group which could amend rules on transfers and make changes to “protect contracts for both players and clubs”.

However, clubs are already having to take drastic action to stave off financial disaster.

Some French sides, including Lyon, put their players on short-time working as a means of saving money. Swiss outfit Sion cancelled the contracts of nine players who refused to go on temporary unemployment.

In Scotland it is not unusual for player contracts to expire immediately after the scheduled last game of the season in May. In any case, struggling Hearts have asked players and staff to accept 50 percent pay cuts.

Meanwhile, young players who are out of contract are a problem, points out David Venditelli, a French agent whose company Score represents Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette among others.

“Things are on hold for these players who are in a precarious position. They are the ones who are the most in danger,” he says.

More free agents might find themselves on the market, but the biggest Champions League stars are unlikely to be impacted.

Super-agents will keep playing the game, like Mino Raiola, whose clients include Pogba and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland.

Raiola told Spanish sports daily Marca this week that he hoped “to one day transfer a massive player to Real Madrid” and would “try to do it this summer”.

Elsewhere, the dynamics of the market may change. “In some ways people will be eyeing up bargains,” says one agent with in-depth knowledge of the British market. “A distressed club becomes a motivated seller, so there will be a fire sale of a distressed club selling its assets.”

However, the reality is that nothing is happening right now.

“Nobody wants to get involved in that sort of thing now. Our primary job at the moment is to make sure all our staff are looked after,” says Jonathan Barnett, whose clients include Gareth Bale.

“We all have the same problems, with uncertainty and things. We’re not thinking about the summer or transfers because we don’t know how far this thing is going to go.”

by Nation

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Business

Paybill number for cash-strapped Gor Mahia

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As a financial crisis bites through the local football scene, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has reached out to landlords of members of his team’s playing unit to exercise patience.

And in a related development, the 18-time Kenyan champions have, through Gor Mahia Augmentin Fund (GMAF), set up a Paybill number which members, supporters, and well-wishers can contribute money to the club in form of cash and ‘Bonga points.’

Bonga points is a loyalty scheme for all of Safaricom’s pre-paid and post-paid customers.

The points can be used to redeem prizes and goods at selected supermarkets.

Rachier has sought to strike a deal with the landlords of his players following consistent delay in rent payment by the players. This has been occasioned by financial crisis at the club that has caused salary delays.

“We have not paid salaries for five months,” Rachier said Wednesday.

“I keep writing to their landlords just to understand and I want to thank those landlords that have extended a good time for them (players) to be able to pay when we are able to pay,” he said.

Rachier spoke at an event where a section of club supporters and players, led by Lawrence Juma, Joakim Oluoch and Samuel Onyango as well as members of group called ‘Kulundeng original’ donated foodstuff worth Sh100,000 to the Fikisha Rehabilitation Centre.

The function was held at the Lutheran Centre in Kawangware, Nairobi.

Gor players each received a Sh10,000 monthly stipend from the government last week in a bid to cushion them from the effects of coronavirus pandemic which has paralysed football activities in the country.

Most of the Kenyan Premier League clubs have benefited from the scheme launched by the government in conjunction with various partners.

By Nation Sport

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Lifestyle

How man survived in 60ft well for 13 days

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A mentally challenged man from Gatituni village in Chuka, Tharaka-Nithi County has shocked many after surviving in a 60-foot well for 13 days without food.

Mr Royford Mugambi, 42, was retrieved from the well Wednesday evening.

He disappeared on the morning of May 22, 2020 while with his elderly mother who lives with him.

Speaking to journalists at their home on Thursday morning, Mr Henry Gitonga, Mr Mugambi’s elder brother, said they had been searching for him since his disappearance, even going to the Chuka County Referral Hospital mortuary.

REPORTED DISAPPEARANCE

He said the family had reported his disappearance to the administration and at Chuka Police Station and were almost losing hope of tracing him when he was discovered in the well.

Mr Gitonga said a neighbour, Mr John Mwenda, was working in a farm near the well when he heard someone calling and thought it was his father who was also working some meters away. But when he responded, his father said he had not called him.

Mr Mwenda continued with his work and then he heard the voice again. This time, the person called him by his name and when he trailed the direction of the voice, he noticed that the person was calling from the well and the soft voice sounded familiar; it was that of Mugambi.

He went close to the well and when he called out, Mugambi responded and asked for some water.

LADDER AND ROPE

“After confirming that it was Mugambi who had disappeared for some days, Mwenda rushed and informed his father before proceeding to our home and broke the shocking news,” said Mr Gitonga.

He said they all ran to the well, which had been dug many years back by the owner of the farm who was looking for water, and confirmed that it was his brother.

He hurriedly looked for a ladder, tied it with a rope and dropped it to the well.

He said they asked him to hold firm to the ladder as they pulled him out.

VERY WEAK

Mr Gitonga said they struggled to remove him because he was very weak, making it difficult for him to hold onto the ladder. When he came out, he asked for water.

“His body was pale, completely emaciated and totally confused when he came out,” he said.

The family called a doctor from Chuka County Referral Hospital who advised them to give him a glucose solution and some milk for a few days before introducing him to porridge and later soft food.

The villagers said they suspected the man had been taking some water since when he came out his clothes were wet, suggesting that the well had some water.

They termed the incident as miracle, saying they would hold a thanksgiving ceremony later

By Nation.co.ke

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Entertainment

Echesa: Ruto didn’t protect his allies

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The Jubilee Party purge has triggered a dramatic falling out within Deputy President William Ruto’s camp in Western Kenya.

His allies are now questioning his silence in the wake of their removal from various positions.

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa drew first blood Wednesday when he lashed out at the DP for his silence after Tuesday’s sacking of Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali as the Majority Whip.

“I am sure if Mr Ruto had pleaded with the President, Mr Washiali would have survived the axe,” Mr Echesa said.

He added: “There has been talk about Mr Atwoli and Oparanya pushing for the changes, but I never saw them at State House. The person I saw was the Deputy President and unfortunately, he didn’t raise a finger on the fate of Mr Washiali”.

The former CS, who is facing criminal charges related to an arms procurement scam, spoke a day after a Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting made changes to the majority leadership in the National Assembly.

While Majority Leader Aden Duale survived the purge, Mr Washiali and his deputy Cecily Mbarire were not lucky. Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe replaced Mr Washiali, while Igembe North MP Maoka Maore took over from Ms Mbarire.

Mr Wangwe took office with gusto, extending the purge to 16 MPs. He issued the legislators allied to the DP with letters notifying them of the party’s intention to remove them from various House committees.

Among those issued with the letters was Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa, whose position as the chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee now hangs in the balance, unless, of course, he shifts his loyalty to the President in the next seven days.

Other letters the Nation has seen are those of Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, the vice-chair of the Transport committee, Aldai MP Cornelly Serem (vice-Trade), Bomet Woman Rep Joyce Korir (vice-chair, Labour committee), and Endebess MP Robert Pukose (vice-chair, Health committee).

On Wednesday, Mr Wangwe refused to speak about the changes arguing that he is yet to be confirmed into his position by the Speaker.

But Echesa was unrelenting.

“The DP is the General, and we have been fighting for him. I can’t understand how a General can abandon his troops and remain silent when they are being purged the way we have seen in Jubilee Party,” he said.

According to Mr Echesa, DP Ruto is silent because he thinks he will exploit the sackings in 2022. The DP, he said, had calculated that the sackings would cause anger within the community’s political elite, to his advantage.

He told the DP that he will be disappointed if he expects a fallout within the luhya leadership.

But Mr Washiali rejected the assertion and defended the DP against the claims, noting that the former CS does not understand how the “system” works.

He didn’t not elaborate on what he meant by the “system”, but claimed that he had been shown the door for refusing to execute “dirty” work for some powerful forces in Jubilee.

“The problem is not me; it is my conscience,” he said. “You have seen my successor do funny things like the ones Mr Irungu Kang’ata is doing in the Senate, removing people from committees without any valid reason. That is what I refused to do and that is why I am being punished.”

He said he had done his best during his time in the office and insisted that no one can assume ownership of a public office.

“The office can be taken away any time as it happened. I was prepared for that eventuality,” he said. Using a metaphor of a football team, Mr Washiali argued that even best scorers are rested after scoring goals.

“You score and the coach rests you because he is preparing for the next match. I have a future to look forward to. This is the start of a journey,” he said.

Mr Washiali had earlier blamed ODM leader Raila Odinga for his tribulations.

Describing the Mr Odinga as a stranger in Jubilee, Mr Washiali said the Handshake was a sinister move aimed at humiliating MPs allied to the DP.

“He (Mr Odinga) is a stranger who came to our house to get a go at our parents. To do that, he must obliterate all the children” he said, when he addressed the media at the home of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula.

Mr Echesa’s eruption signals tough times in the DP’s base, especially in Western Kenya.

By Nation.co.ke

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