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Culture Events

Nova Esports Enters Partnership with Godlike Esports to Form New Team

Nova Esports has entered into the PUBG Mobile scene through a collaboration with Godlike Esports. The Hong Kong-based organisation ventures into India with the creation of a joint team, Nova Godlike, which will compete in PUBG Mobile with an Indian roster.

Anthony “AY” Yeung, CEO of Nova Esports explained the expansion as a natural transition for the organisation, which is already familiar with mobile esports, and a huge opportunity for growth. Considering the explosive popularity of PUBG Mobile in the gaming industry in India, Yeung believes the game “has surpassed other games in terms of popularity and revenue and made a place for itself in Indian pop culture”.

With its name known even amongst non-gamers and a low barrier to entry, PUBG Mobile has influenced culture beyond the esporting realm. Cafes and restaurants are seen to have adopted the PUBG theme, making the title a cultural landmark.

“Even people who have not played the game would have seen and heard about it through various social media memes and posts. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner has become a catchphrase that can be recognized by anyone in the teenage and adult category,” asserted Yeung.

He believes one of the main factors for the surge in popularity of the game is the low data pack cost Jio revolution and made the decision to partner with Godlike Esports for their Indian PUBG mobile operations after seeing the hype of Indian gamers and fans in PMCO 2019 World Finals in Berlin.

The objectives of the partnership includes providing high quality content for the community, creating a family-based relationship with fans, supporting the players to become public figures, attracting other globals teams to join the Indian Esports Market and having successes in local and global competitions.

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Culture Events

EChallenger Series Launched by Fifa & EA in Asia

In a collaboration between football and gaming, Fifa and EA Sports have announced that they will be organising a new Fifa esports series which commences in end June.

Football’s world governing body, Fifa and the games publisher set to introduce professional football players who will team up with esport gamers and social media influencers from four countries to compete in the Fifa eChallenger Series for Asia.

The competition is modeled after the Fifa Online 4 game and will have teams from four countries – South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and China.

With the surge in popularity of the computer game industry in Asia, it comes as no surprise that the initiative is focused on the region.

DBS chief investment officer Hou Wey Fook shared, “We believe COVID-19 will accelerate the growth of esports, especially in Asia-Pacific.”

The online series is set to take place from 25-30 June and will last four rounds with one team crowned national champions. Each country will produce a team consisting of three players and each match will include 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 games.

This competition will replace the Fifa eChampions Cup Spring 2020 and will be livestreamed on Fifa’s gaming platform, Fifa.gg.

Fifa Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Thomas said, “For the first time, EA Sports Fifa Online 4 fans across Asia will have the chance to watch and engage directly with their favourite football stars, influencers and esports professionals.”

The dates for the tournament are: Vietnam, 25 and 27 June; Thailand, 29 and 30 June; South Korea, 26-28 June; and China, 28-30 June.

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Football Sports

Go Back to Basics — Gary Neville Comments on Manchester United’s David de Gea’s Form

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has said that the goalkeeper David de Gea must return to basics if he wants to come back from his disappointing form and regain his confidence.

In Friday’s Premier League match with Tottenham Hotspur which ended in a 1-1 draw, De Gea had deflected Steven Bergwijn’s shot and landed it in his own net. This prompted another former United captain, Roy Keane, to comment that he was “sick to death” of the Spanish goalkeeper.

The criticism of De Gea was defended by United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite the latter hinting at the possibility of Dean Henderson to become first choice for club and country.

This fumble was De Gea’s seventh since the start of last season — a record tally in the Premier League that is shared by Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka, Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Arsenal’s Bernd Leno.

Neville said in his podcast that the Spaniard was the one player the team could rely upon for the last four years but he is no longer the same.

“When form drops for six months it’s a blip but when it goes on for a year you start to worry. When it goes over two years it becomes more permanent.”

United ranks fifth in the table with 46 points and is set to face Sheffield United, which is currently seventh on 44 points, on Wednesday.

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Football International

Napoli Defeat Juventus to Win Italian Cup and Give Gennaro Gattuso First Trophy as Coach

Napoli knocked out Juventus 4-2 on penalties after a goalless draw in regulation time. The team was declared winners of the Italian Cup on Wednesday, 17th June 2020 with coach Gennaro Gattuso bagging his first major trophy as manager.

Napoli denied Juventus from clinching a treble this season when the shootout saw the former convert all shots while Juve’s Paulo Dybala and Danilo missed their first two attempts. The win gave Napoli the championship trophy for the sixth time.

It is also the first title won in the Italian season after a three-month long hiatus due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The initial plan was to have the players collecting their own medals at the ceremony, but they were instead presented the honours from their respective club presidents, Aurelio De Laurentiis and Andrea Agnelli.

Gattuso’s managerial takeover in December after the team’s defiance against De Laurentiis’ week-long training camp made his victory even more notable. The 42 year-old said, “Football has given me so much and that is why I have so much passion for it. It’s something I can’t let go of, not even for a second.”

“Those of us who have this job must have respect for it because we’re lucky. I want to see people who put passion into it, I want a sense of belonging and respect.”

Napoli could have snatched victory in stoppage time if not for Gianluigi Buffon who made two amazing saves, denying Nikola Maksimovic’s header and Eljif Elmas’ point-black shot coming off a rebound onto the post.

Napoli had the best chances throughout the game leaving a frustrated Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo with little opportunity for possession. Lorenzo Insigne’s 30-metre free kick attempt in the first half was blocked by Buffon while Arkadiusz Milik’s shot went over the bar.

As both the teams are still in the Champions League, Juventus was chasing for the ninth successive title since the initial match as he was drawn from both the games 0-0 in the lead series A.

Since the restart, Juventus has had goalless draws in both their matches and are currently in the lead in Serie A, hoping to bag a ninth successive title. Both teams are still in the Champions League.

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Football Sports

New Protocols in Place as English Premier League Returns

The English Premier League (EPL) season restarted on Wednesday, 17 June after a three-month hiatus with new measures in place.

“Strict protocols have been put in place to ensure that stadiums are as safe as possible for everybody present.” This was the statement issued by the league ahead of the kick-off that stipulates guidelines to follow due to the global COVID-19 crisis.

AFP Sport checks the formulated protocols:

Stadium safety

Stadium grounds are divided into three zones, namely, red, amber and green, with different sets of protocols assigned to each zone. Red zones of any stadium includes the pitch, technical area, tunnel, and dressing rooms – those who have undergone tests prior to the five days are allowed to enter the red zones. To grant access, they must flash a bar code called a “clinical passport” showing their negative test results before being allowed entry.

For the remaining 92 matches of the season, around 300 people are allowed into the stadiums.

Pre-match check

Before reaching the stadium, there are COVID-19 screenings for players and staff. Traveling on the road or on flights are permissible as long as the environment is sterile and social distancing norms are implemented as a top priority.

For Sheffield United’s first match since the relaunch, their visit to Aston Villa on Wednesday saw some changes. Manager Chris Wilder shares, “We are going on three buses. The main guys are on the first one, so you will see the team from who gets off first.”

Making their way to the dressing rooms, the away teams must be directed from their vehicles through a sterile route that provides sufficient space for social distancing. In the rooms, staggered use is preferred and teams can use the showers if safe distancing is maintained.

Instead of the usual dressing room in Villa Park, Sheffield United occupied the press room and players’ lounge instead to change. Wilder also added that the players have to stay two metres apart when there is a break in play.

Some stadiums have also allocated separate tunnels for players and match officials. For use of single tunnels to and from the pitch must be staggered.

Hygiene

With the exception of players and coaching staff on the bench, everyone at the stadium is instructed to wear face coverings.

Areas such as changing facilities, dugouts, matchballs, goalposts, corner flags and substitution boards are disinfected thoroughly before each match.

No Handshakes

Handshakes between players and at the coin toss will not take place.

Players will stagger themselves as they stand for the league anthem at the start of each match. Meanwhile, the team benches will be expanded to allow for safe distancing.

Ban on Spitting

Even during goal celebrations, players have been instructed to keep the appropriate distance from other players. In addition, they must not spit or nose-clear or share water bottles.

During matches, players are also encouraged to avoid confronting opponents or officials in a group and minimise interaction with opponents after the match.

Dedryck Boyata of Hertha Berlin was seen to have violated the rules last month when he grabbed teammate’s Marko Grujic’s face during a match in the Bundesliga. He later apologised and said that players need to adjust to the new restrictions.