Monday, October 18, 2021

Soccer notebook: Neymar reacts to weight criticism, attending games post-COVID, more under-the-radar stories

The international break is underway which gives us time to catch our breath after a mad end to the summer transfer window. Not all moves were confirmed on deadline day, though, and Amine Harit’s move from Schalke 04 to Olympique de Marseille dragged on this week. We also look at how clubs have been welcoming fans back to stadiums using technology to maximize the experience.

This week’s under-the-radar stories.

New technology is aiding clubs as they look to give spectators maximum comfort as they venture to stadiums for the first time since COVID-19 disrupted the global game.

Contactless ticketing, mobile orders and contactless ticket collection are some of the new twists on old habits and those changes are revamping the matchday experience for many fans.

Realife Tech work with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and BSC Young Boys in the soccer world to us advanced data, analytics, and innovative UI to create technology that increases mobile spend and revenues on matchday.

Satisfi Labs, who also collaborate with Spurs and LA Galaxy in the soccer world, are bringing mobile-first technology to the forefront of the sport post-COVID.

“Mobile-first technology is vital not only to enable safety within a stadium environment through features such as digital ticketing and contactless collection of F&B and merchandise, but also to enhance the match-day experience for the fan,” said Realife Tech CEO and Founder Adam Goodyer. “The potential for mobile-first solutions to elevate the fan experience within a post-Covid world are vast.”

“Clubs are investing in ways to digitally communicate massive amounts of information in a personalized channel,” added Don White of Satisfi Labs. “Information on-demand and rapidly updated is the most important step to making a fan feel safe in this environment.”

Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil’s Neymar has been accused of piling on the pounds this summer with former Marseille man and current pundit Pascal Olmeta branding the 29-year-old “a little piglet” on RMC Radio earlier this week.

The poking did not stop there with many people commenting on Neymar’s physique with the Seleção which prompted him to respond via following Thursday’s 1-0 win at Chile: “Note: The shirt was a large,” he wrote. “I am at my normal weight. Next game, I will ask for a medium!”

Disaster nearly struck for OM as Harit’s loan move from Schalke was nearly aborted to the stringent measures taken by financial watchdog the DNCG and the deal was only confirmed once Alvaro Gonzalez and Pol Lirola took pay cuts.

Combined with an effort from the Morocco international himself, it was enough to get the deal over the line and Jorge Sampaoli now has a new-look squad available to him after a raft of summer changes.

Olympique Lyonnais’ Rayan Cherki has admitted that his ‘dream’ move would be to Real Madrid in an interview with Onze Mondial where the 18-year-old also detailed his relationship with the Spanish giants’ No. 1 target Kylian Mbappe.

“The perfect route would be making history with Lyon, then going on to make history with other clubs and therefore the game,” he said. “We all know that Real is my dream club.

“We have a good and friendly relationship. We chat and exchange after games. He is a genuine good guy! We connected via social media. He got in touch, and I never miss his games. His advice: ‘score goals — only scorers get remembered!'”
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