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Round-Up: Hyundai breaks with FFA, Ma Guoli leaves CBA, PGA Tour to fly golfers, European football restarts, and more

Hyundai is ending its sponsorship of the Australian A-League after this season, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The Korean carmaker has been the league’s naming rights partner since its first season in 2005. It is reported to be paying A$6m ($3.9m/€3.6m) in total to Football Federation Australia – A$5m for the A-League and A$1m to sponsor national teams. The brand provided 80 cars per year to the FFA and clubs. Hyundai is the fourth sponsor to walk away from the FFA in the last year, after petrol station chain Caltex, bank NAB and supermarket chain Aldi.

Rugby Australia is weighing up rule changes to speed up play when it introduces a domestic competition to replace Super Rugby in July. RA is aiming for a 12-week competition featuring the four Australian Super Rugby teams, and potentially Japan’s Sunwolves – Channel News Asia/Reuters.

On the same day his son was announced as the new chief executive of NBA China, veteran Chinese sports businessman Ma Guoli resigned from his position as advisor to Chinese Basketball Association president Yao Ming, China.org.cn reports. The report says Ma resigned for “personal reasons”. SportsMoney.cn reports that Ma wanted to avoid potential claims of conflicting interests in relation to his son Ma Xiaofei’s new role at the NBA.

The PGA Tour will use chartered planes to fly golfers and caddies between tournaments when it returns on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. The flights will help maintain a ‘bubble’ around the Tour participants to reduce risk of Covid-19 spread – Reuters.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has launched an official Tmall ecommerce store in China. It is also selling products via the short-video platform Douyin. Products available include t-shirts, replica belts, gym towels, phone cases and fitness equipment. Kevin Chang, SVP for Apac at UFC said: “Launching our official Tmall  store is the next major brand extension following the successful opening of the UFC Performance Institute Shanghai last June. The timing is right, in large part because our social media following has skyrocketed, offering us the ability to use content marketing to highlight a wide range of tailored products.”

Fifa has moved the women’s Under-20 World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama from August-September this year to January 20-February 6 next year. The women’s Under-17 World Cup in India has been moved from November this year to February 17-March 7, 2021. The Futsal World Cup in Lithuania has been moved from September-October this year to September 12-October 3, 2021. The 70th Fifa Congress, that was due to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will be held online on September 18.

The English Premier League is requiring its teams to ban tackling, disinfect pitches and keep players in groups of five, among other measures, when training resumes next week – BBC.

Italian Serie A football clubs will be permitted to start training from May 18 – Reuters.

Spanish football teams will cut salaries and reduce transfer spending due to the Covid-19 downturn, LaLiga president Javier Tebas has said – Reuters.

Portugal’s top football league is aiming to restart on June 4 – Channel News Asia/Reuters.

Austrian football’s Bundesliga is likely to restart in the first week of June – Reuters.

The Football Federation of Iran hopes to complete its 2019-20 domestic league seasons – Xinhua.

The International Cricket Council has postponed the qualifying tournament for the 2021 Women’s World Cup on July 3-19 in Sri Lanka. It has also postponed the European regional qualifier for the 2022 Under-19 men’s World Cup, that was due to take place in Denmark on July 24-30.

Women’s motor racing series the W Series has enough resources to get through this year even if no races can be held, founder and chief executive Catherine Bond Muir has said – Reuters.

Tokyo Olympics organisers are closing five official merchandise shops in Tokyo due to the Covid-19 business downturn – Japan Today.

A group of Indonesian sports presenters are demanding up to seven months in unpaid salaries, totalling Rp91,000 (€56,000/$61,000) from state broadcaster TVRI – The Jakarta Post.