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10-Man Mumbai City FC Beat FC Goa With an Injury Time Penalty; English Footballers’ Union Chief to Step Down After This Season (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Adam le Fondre’s late penalty earn Mumbai a 1-0 victory over FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL) | Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), to step down by the end of the season | Liverpool shocked by Atalanta in UEFA Champions League | Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gareth Bale question FIFA’s use of player image likeness in video games | Marcus Rashford to be honoured at BBC SPOTY for charity work
Adam le Fondre of Mumbai City FC

Adam le Fondre of Mumbai City FC scores from the penalty spot in their Indian Super League (ISL) match against FC Goa on Wednesday (Pic: ISL, Twitter).

There exists, probably, something called the penalty karma in football. Mumbai City FC, who were at the receiving end of it last Sunday, were the beneficiaries on Wednesday in their match against FC Goa.

A late penalty from Adam le Fondre helped Mumbai beat FC Goa 1-0 in their Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Fatorda Stadium.

FC Goa played the whole of the second half with a numerical disadvantage having gone down to 10 men in the 40th minute, following the sending off of Redeem Tlang — shown a red card for a rough tackle on Hernan Santana.

They, however, showed grit and looked set to escape with a draw when the referee pointed to the spot. Deep into injury time, Goa midfielder Lenny Rodrigues tried to block a header inside the box but his outstretched hand touched the ball. 

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Le Fondre, Mumbai’s designated penalty taker, converted with a low, hard strike.

If you look at gameplay though, Mumbai probably did not deserve the points. They struggled to find rhythm through the match, and the midfield had no impact at all. Le Fondre was toothless for most part of the match, till his injury-time penalty.  Evidently, Sergio Lobera’s side was missing the suspended Ahmed Jahouh in midfield. Jahouh, Mumbai’s creative engine (apparent from the action that he is the only creative player in the mix), was shown a red card during Mumbai’s loss against NorthEast United on Sunday. Mumbai went down after conceding a penalty while playing with a numerical disadvantage.

It so seemed at one point that Mumbai would end up without scoring for a second consecutive game. The match was an ill-tempered affair too with six yellow cards and a red card issued by the referee in his bid to keep the players at bay.

England's Players' Union Chief to Retire

Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) -- the players’ union of England and Wales -- since 1981, announced his decision to step down at the end of the season via a letter to PFA members.

Taylor,  75, had said after the PFA’s annual general meeting (AGM) in March last year that he would step down after the completion of a review of the organisation’s governance.

The veteran has faced criticism over his salary demands. More than 200 former and current players signed a letter in November 2018 calling for him to step down and enable the modernisation of the PFA.

The players body has faced criticism recently over a perceived lack of support for former players with dementia.

“As I announced at our previous AGM, now that the Independent Review process has completed, I too will step down, by the end of the current season,” Taylor wrote in his letter to PFA members.

“A new chief executive will be elected following the recruitment procedure recommended by the Independent Review, and we have already made substantial progress in that direction. I will of course be available in the future whenever needed to support the PFA,” he added.

Liverpool Shocked, Inter Lose, Bayern roll on

A small team from Italy, wearing blue, marshalled by an Argentine No. 10 from Buenos Aires, pluckily dismantled Liverpool yesterday at Anfield to hand the English champions their first defeat at home in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League in six years. In as much as that sentence reads like it was written in the 1980s, it was actually yesterday. But it was hard to not see some omens in Atalanta’s performance which at times looked like it was inspired by and for Diego Maradona.

It was a game that Liverpool on the other hand would like to forget. The Reds did not have a single shot on target and never looked like scoring. Atalanta, on the other hand, had a point to prove after their own 5-0 humiliation at home when the teams met three weeks ago. Their captain, the Argentine No 10 Alejandro Gomez, evidently had a point to prove. He was at the heart of both the goals (and much of what Atalanta did) as the plucky Italians handed Gian Piero Gasperini a win in his 200th game in charge of the club.

“This will be written in the pages of our history,” said Gasperini. “This is perhaps the biggest victory in our history and certainly our most prestigious.”

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Real Madrid registered their first ever win at San Siro, beating Internazionale 2-0 after the home side’s Arturo Vidal was sent off for dissent in the first half.

Eden Hazard converted an early penalty and Achraf Hakimi deflected Rodrygo’s shot into his own goal to seal an authoritative victory for Real that leaves them on course to qualify for the last 16. Inter, meanwhile, face a second successive group-stage exit.

Defending champions Bayern Munich failed to hit top form but did enough for a 3-1 win over visitors Salzburg on Wednesday to book their spot in the knockout stage with two games to spare. Bayern stretched their record run to 15 straight wins in the competition.

Ibrahimovic, Bale Question FIFA Game Image Rights

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has never been one to mince his words, or let others define his own image and so, after decades as a professional footballer who has lit up various screens, he has finally questioned the use of his image on FIFA’s flagship video game saying the games were "making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years".

He was joined in support by Gareth Bale, on loan at Tottenham, who simply wrote, "#TimeToInvestigate".

It is tough to understand how Ibrahimovic has suddenly woken up to this reality — as good as it is — that has existed in professional football for decades now. FIFA’s game is one of the most popular video game franchises in the world and has been around for ages. Bale’s dissent is simpler to understand — he has his own esports organisation, Ellevens Esports, which has taken part in FIFA competitions in the past. 

EA Sports said it has "contractual rights to include the likeness of all players currently in our game". 

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FIFPro, the global players union (at the heart of Ibrahimovic’s ire) lists among its key principles the statement: "A player's name, image and performance may only be commercially utilised with his or her consent, voluntarily given."

The body negotiates deals to sell collective image rights on behalf of national player unions and their members. Premier League clubs sell their licensing rights for video games collectively, whereas Italy's top-flight sides do not. Earlier this year, EA Sports announced an exclusive partnership with AC Milan to coincide with the launch of Fifa 21. Ibrahimovic, it seems, was not invited to the party.

According to the BBC, a source close to Bale claimed many other players and agents around the world are also seeking legal advice on whether players are entitled to anything from the revenue generated by using their likeness — seeing as most contracts include image rights deals.

That source pointed to an example from Brazil from June, where players won a settlement of 6.5m Brazilian real — approximately £900,000 — after the Union of Athletes of Santa Catarina brought a case against the game's developers, EA Sports, in court.

Other popular games such as Pro Evolution Soccer pay for player likenesses and some official team and competition names, while management simulator series, Football Manager, features licensed competitions and players. 

If the duo are serious about their complaint regarding the game, there could be a long and very interesting battle ahead. The story is developing and this is but the beginning of what could be a transformative process for the football and gaming industry.

Rashford to be Honoured at BBC Awards

Marcus Rashford will be presented with a special award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) event this year. The Manchester United forward has not made the shortlist for the main category, the winner of which is voted for by the public.

While the special award recognises Rashford’s campaigning against child poverty and for free school meals, the 23-year-old has been excluded from the SPOTY nominees because the Manchester United and England forward’s on-field achievements have not reached the sporting bar as decided by the judging panel.

A spokesperson said that the “criteria for selecting nominees for the shortlist is, and always has been, centred around sporting achievement. Whilst Marcus has had a huge impact outside of his sport , which led to the panel giving him their special award, based on the criteria it was felt his sporting achievement this year wasn’t enough for him to make the shortlist for the main award.”

Off the field, Rashford forced PM Boris Johnson into a U-turn after he initially rejected the 23-year-old’s calls for free food vouchers to be granted to the poorest families in the summer. At the end of last month Rashford’s petition to end child poverty had more than a million signatures. His actions also galvanised local businesses, cafes and restaurants to help feed families without free school meals during autumn half-term.

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