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Manchester United Suing Makers of Football Manager, Leeds United Chief Says Incomplete Season Would Be A 'National Embarrassment' and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Manchester United suing makers of Football Manager | Leeds United Chief says Incomplete Season Would be a 'National Embarrassment' | Danish Superliga’s Aarhus GF opens first-ever ‘virtual grandstand’ for fans | Premier League facing issue of two Saudi owned clubs | N'Golo Kante: Chelsea will allow midfielders to stay away from training amid coronavirus fears.
Manchester United

The club argued that Sega and SI infringed its trademark by not using the official crest in the game instead ‘replacing the club crest with a simplified red and white striped logo’. (Picture courtesy: Manchester United/Twitter)

Manchester United are suing the makers of the Football Manager series for violating their trademark by using the club’s name extensively throughout the games. The club has taken legal action against the publisher and developer of popular football management, Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive (SI).

The club has also accused  Sega and SI of ‘replacing the club crest with a simplified red and white striped logo’ and further claimed that this ‘deprives the registered proprietor of its right to have the club crest licensed’.

Sega and SI however, say the use of the club’s name is ‘a legitimate reference to the Manchester United football team in a football context’ and  has been used in Football Manager and its predecessor Championship Manager since 1992 ‘without complaint by the claimant’.

“The name ‘Manchester United’ is one of the world’s most valuable and recognised brands,” United’s barrister Simon Malynicz said at  a preliminary remote hearing on Friday. He further added that the money clubs make from licensing their name and logos was very significant.

“Consumers expect to see the club crest next to the name Manchester United … and this failure to do so amounts to wrongful use,” Malynicz said. Sega and SI ‘encouraged’ the use of downloadable patches containing replica trademarks which are supplied by third parties, he further added.

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Leeds United CEO says Incomplete Season Would be a 'National Embarrassment'

Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear has said that it would be ‘a national embarrassment’ if the English Football League (EFL) is unable to complete its season while other European leagues continue to do so. 

With the Bundesliga restarting its season last week without spectators, and other top European leagues expected to follow suit, Kinnear said that it's time for English Leagues to come up with solutions. 

"England had some of the finest sports scientists and football administrators in the game and the time has come for us as a sport to stop repeatedly framing the challenges and start delivering on the solution," Kinnear wrote in a column the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"It would be a national embarrassment if the Bundesliga, La Liga or Serie A were to be able to complete, safely and the first and fifth biggest leagues in the world were not able to follow suit if the context remained comparable," he said.

"If Leeds United wanted to be opportunist we could have seized on this 'point-per-game' commitment to push for an early curtailment in concert with some already very vocal self-interests," Kinnear added.

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Danish Superliga’s Aarhus GF opens first-ever ‘virtual grandstand’ for fans

With the Danish Superliga set to resume football by May 29, Aarhus Gymnastikforening have decided to go virtual. Football leagues resuming games will do so without spectators and to counter it, AGF have decided to open their first-ever virtual grandstand for fans to enjoy their team play without being present at the stadium.  

The club currently third in the standings will be up against local rivals Randers when fixtures resume and will allow fans to be present in the stadium via the video conferencing app Zoom. Their feeds will be displayed on several screens that face the pitch.

“We are proud to be the first club in the world to use it [the technology],” AGF CEO Jacob Nielsen said in a statement.

“Now it seems that we have to do without spectators for a while, so maybe we can inspire a similar initiative that other clubs that can also benefit from.”

Premier League facing issue of two Saudi owned clubs

The confusion over official filings from the owners of Sheffield United has brought to light the biggest pitfall for the Saudi bid to buy Premier League club Newcastle United.

British media reports have suggested that the Saudi supported takeover of the club from British retail magnate Mike Ashley and is about to reach its approval, the issue of Sheffield United being related to the House of Saud risks both teams and could become a major talking point when they face each other next season.

The Premier League has not commented on how it approves the procedure. However, the issue is very clear since English football's rules on club ownership are clear.

The rules state that a person would be disqualified if ‘either directly or indirectly he is involved in or has any power to determine or influence the management or administration of another club or Football League club’.

The Premier League must determine whether Sheffield United, owned by Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, could get under the influence of Newcastle’s potential majority owners – the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, PIF.

Chelsea will allow midfielder to stay away from training amid coronavirus fears

Chelsea midfielder, N'Golo Kanté, 29, made a comeback to limited training on Tuesday at the club's Cobham base but has decided to train at home ever since citing fears over contracting the virus. Kante's decision came after a similar stance was taken by Watford captain Troy Deeney.

Kante is prepared to miss the rest of the Premier League season, if it resumes, amid fears over returning to Chelsea training due to the coronavirus pandemic. The France international has been given permission to train at home and he has the full support of head coach Frank Lampard and the club's board.

The 29-year-old, though, did return on Thursday to undergo a second round of coronavirus testing. Kante lost his older brother to a heart attack just weeks before the World Cup in 2018. A few months earlier, the player himself fainted in training before being given a clean bill of health.

Chelsea have nine league games remaining and sit fourth in the table.

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