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Premier League Games Could Be Free-to-air Once Season Restarts, Keeping Ourselves Fit During Lockdown a Challenge Says FIFA Referee Rowan Arumughan and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Premier League matches could be free-to-air once season restarts | Keeping ourselves fit during lockdown a challenge says FIFA referee Rowan Arumughan | Women Euros moved to July 2022 | Arsenal's David Luiz, Lacazette, Pépé and Xhaka ignore coronavirus rules | Call in Parliament for independent inquiry into Scottish football vote.
Football News Round-up

With the I-League and all other football in India cancelled, referees have been forced into ‘challenging’ circumstances to keep themselves fit during the lockdown. (pic courtesy: AIFF)

The Premier League might consider staging games behind-closed-doors along with free-to-air broadcasting in Britain when the season resumes, said the Culture Secretary.  Television rights for the Premier League in the UK are held by Sky Sports and BT. 

Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary said there have been ‘productive conversations’ with British sport authorities about restarting games following the Covid-19 shutdown. He told the departments of Digital, Cultural, Media and Sports about his intentions for the broadcast if games were held behind closed doors. 

“I have said to the Premier League it wouldn’t send the best signal, if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn’t have access to it,” he said.

However, Dowden, who also spoke to lawmakers on Wednesday, has declined to contemplate on platforms the games will be broadcasted.  “If they are being mindful of access points, that doesn’t just have to be going onto traditional terrestrial matches, or even showing all of the matches,” he said.

“There’s all sorts of creative options within that but it is something they should be considering, and they have said they are,” he added.

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Referees struggle to keep themselves fit during lockdown - Rowan Arumugan

Referees have been finding it really “challenging” to keep themselves fit during the lockdown caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

FIFA Panel referee, Rowan Arumugan elaborated on obstacles faced by referees at this time.

“It has really been challenging for us to keep ourselves fit during this lockdown. The [Asian Football Confederation] instructors, and the AIFF referee’s department have shared the curriculum comprising strength training, core exercises and energy gaining,” Arumugan said. “Besides the players, the referees also need to maintain their fitness level to run the show smoothly once we come back to normalcy.” 

“It’s a two-sessions-in-a-day curriculum and approximately we are sweating out two, two and a half hours every day. As we are not allowed to go for a run, we are focusing on breaking extra sweat indoors. Once the season starts, we have to be at the top of our game to perform on the field,” he added. 

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UEFA Women's EUROS moved to July 2022

The UEFA Executive committee approved the postponement of UEFA’s Women’s European Championships 2021 to 6 to 31 July 2022 in England with the same venue hosting the event. 

The European football governing body made this decision after the men’s competition had to be postponed to 2021 following the Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted lives across continents. 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “When we had to take an urgent decision on the postponement of Euro 2020, we always had the impact on UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 in mind.”

“We have carefully considered all options, with our commitment to the growth of women’s football at the forefront of our thinking.” 

“The core question guiding us together with the English FA was, what is best for women’s football?” UEFA’s chief of women’s football Nadine Kessler said.

“With the Olympics now being confirmed for summer 2021, we firmly believe that moving to 2022 is in the best interest of the tournament, the players, the fans, women’s football partners and everybody involved in all areas and at all levels of the game.” 

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Four Arsenal players ignore coronavirus rules

Arsenal has spoken to its players David Luiz, Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pépé and Granit Xhaka after they were seeing breaking government norms of physical distancing in London.

David Luiz and Xhaka were spotted meeting in a park in North London, a video of Pépé playing football with friends also surfaced online and Lacazette was pictured standing very close to a person valeting his car. The club has been proactive about the situation and has spoken to the four players to remind them of their responsibilities.

Several players have been caught ignoring and breaking government guidelines of lockdown since the UK called for a lockdown to help break the chain of coronavirus spread.

Arsenal’s rivals Tottenham were also seen breaking government guidelines and were repeat offenders. Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko issued an apology this week after Aurier filmed the two in a joint training session in a park. This came two weeks after José Mourinho admitted he took Tanguy Ndombele for a one-on-one training session and broke the lockdown guidelines.

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Call in Parliament for independent inquiry into Scottish football vote

A call is being raised for an independent inquiry into Scottish Professional Football League’s (SPFL) handling of a vote to abandon the season. The matter reached the Parliament and was tabled as an early day motion.

Gregory Campbell, the Democratic Unionist Party’s long-serving MP for East Londonderry, was also the primary sponsor for the motion, and hopes to draw support from the House of Commons. Scott Benton, the Conservative MP for Blackpool South also added his signature. Ian Murray, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South, earlier called the SPFL an ‘embarrassment’.

Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen asked for an inquiry after a resolution to end the campaign last week turned into a controversy.

Campbell, a Rangers fan, told the Guardian: “I’ve been following this story for over a week as I take a keen interest in Scottish football. Given the extent and range of the allegations with claim and counterclaim I believe this requires a completely independent investigation to clear up the mess and hopefully restore a degree of integrity into the administration of the game.”

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