FIFA proposes mandatory maternity leave for women athletes; an NBA star signs a major sneaker deal with a Chinese shoe brand; and Drone Racing seeks new heights through a series of major partnerships. For these stories and more, check out the Red Phoenix Global Sports Update:

FIFA Proposes Mandatory Maternity Leave for Women Players

FIFA will introduce new regulations to protect the rights of women players. The proposed rules include a mandatory maternity leave of 14 weeks at a minimum of two-thirds of the player’s contracted salary, and a guarantee that “no female player should suffer a disadvantage due to becoming pregnant”. Full Story Reuters (11/19)

Jimmy Butler Signs ‘Significant’ Shoe Deal with Li-Ning

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler has agreed to a significant multiyear signature shoe deal with Chinese brand Li-Ning. Butler will become the newest face of the brand, which also has a lifetime deal with Heat icon Dwyane Wade. Other NBA players currently on the Li-Ning roster include CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, RJ Hampton of the Denver Nuggets, and D’Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Full Story Heat Nation (11/19)

Drone Racing League Partners with BodyArmor, Champion, and Respawn

The Drone Racing League has announced partnerships with sports drink BodyArmor, apparel brand Champion, and gaming furniture brand Respawn. The partners will be integrated into the 2020 DRL Allianz World Championship Season. BodyArmor’s partnership marks the brand’s first foray into the world of esports and gaming. DRL will showcase the company through in-season product placement integrations and unique social content. Full Story Forbes (11/20)

Cristiano Ronaldo Partners with Kuaishou

Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo, has created an official account with Kuaishou, a video-sharing app in China. Ronaldo is a major win for Kuaishou in its battle with Douyin (TikTok’s Chinese sister company) for China’s video sharing market. As part of the partnership, Kuaishou will become Ronaldo’s ‘exclusive short-form Chinese video partner. Ronaldo’s account gained 5 million followers within 24 hours of its creation. Kuaishou, which is backed by Tencent, is planning to raise $50 billion through an IPO in Hongkong. Full Story Dao Insights (11/17)

Austin FC Announces Partnership with H-E-B as Official Grocer 

Major League Soccer expansion team Austin FC has signed a multiyear partnership with Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B. As part of the partnership, H-E-B will become the presenting sponsor of the “H-E-B Plaza,” an on-site fan-zone activation area outside Austin FC’s 20,500-seat stadium. It will operate as a pre-match gathering hub during each of the Club’s home fixtures. HEB will sponsor the Community Kick-Back program and will become the presenting partner of Austin FC’s “Season of Giving” platform. Full Story Austin FC (11/23)

Mumbai City Inks Global Partnership with Chinese Brand Midea

China’s leading home appliances company Midea announced its global partnership with the Indian Mumbai City Football Club. Midea becomes the club’s official home appliances & HVAC partner. For the 2020-21 season, Midea’s logo will be featured on the sleeves of the club’s First Team shirts,  and will be visibly present at matchdays and at the club’s training facility at the Nagoa Village Panchayat Football Ground. Full Story Yahoo News (11/20)

S. Korea Court Orders Compensation for Ronaldo No-show

A South Korean promoter was ordered to compensate fans last week after Juventus player Cristiano Ronaldo failed to play an exhibition match as promised. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner stayed on the bench throughout a 3-3 draw with a K-League all-stars team in July last year, leaving the majority of the 65,000-strong crowd that had shown up at the Seoul World Cup Stadium disappointed. Match promoter, The Fasta, had run adverts promising that the Portuguese superstar would play. The Seoul Central District Court ordered The Fasta to refund half the ticket price and an additional 50,000 won ($45) in compensation to each of 162 plaintiffs who had sued the promoter. Full Story Yahoo Sports (11/20)

No Mandatory Vaccine for Olympics

International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said last week that athletes will not be required to administer a coronavirus vaccine in order to play at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, stating that compulsory doses would be “going too far”. Taking a vaccine would be a “free decision” for athletes and other people involved in the games. Full Story Japan Times (11/17)

MLB Brings Baseball Carnival to 2020 Boao Culture and Creativity Week

MLB and partners staged a three-day baseball-themed experience for Boao Culture and Creativity Week in Hainan Province, China. The activities included the MLB First Pitch baseball class, a “Throw, Hit and Catch” game, MLB stadium-style food, baseball fashion photoshoots, and an augmented reality baseball experience. With the help of Boao Culture and Creativity Institute, MLB baseball classes will soon enter more schools throughout Hainan. Full Story China Daily (11/19)

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