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ATK Mohun Bagan Retain Iconic Green and Maroon Jersey, Thierry Henry Takes a Knee Before MLS Game and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): The board of directors of the newly-formed Indian Super League club ATK Mohun Bagan met on July 10 | Montreal Impact boss Thierry Henry takes a knee at start of an MLS game | Premier League admit to VAR inconsistencies in Thursday’s round of fixtures | Physical evolution in women's football 'faster than in Premier League', study suggests | Champions League final eight draw throws up possible FC Barcelona-Bayern Munich clash
ATK Mohun Bagan to retain the ironic Maroon and Green colours of the Kolkata legacy club

Concerns about how much of Mohun Bagan’s iconic identity would remain in the new club had been rife because of the fact that ATK FC has majority stakes in the merger

The first board of directors of the newly minted club ATK-Mohun Bagan have decided to retain Bagan’s iconic green and maroon jersey as part of the new entity’s brand, citing its 131 year legacy as hugely important. 

“We are indeed delighted that the board of ATK Mohun Bagan has agreed to keep the colour green and maroon and the ‘Pal Tola Naula’ image as the house colour and the mnemonic of the new avatar of Mohun Bagan,” Debashis Dutta, Director, ATK Mohun Bagan Pvt Ltd said.

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Concerns about how much of Bagan’s iconic identity would remain in the new club had been rife because of the fact that ATK has majority stakes in the merger -- they hold the lion’s share of 80% stake in the club. A lot of it has been put to bed now. 

The directors also decided that the name of the club will be changed to ATK Mohun Bagan but the logo will have the iconic Mohun Bagan boat with the addition of ‘ATK’ to it. 

“The culture and tradition which has made the brand a household name have been preserved. The logo retains its essence,” the merged entity said in a statement. “The addition of ATK within the logo ensures that the fast-growing and passionate following built on a short but highly successful period is also being carried forward,” 

ATK-Mohun Bagan are going to be a part of the Calcutta Football League (CFL) and the Indian Super League (ISL) next season. ATK are the defending champions of the ISL while Bagan won the I-League last season emphatically, with four rounds of matches yet to be played. 

Thierry Henry Takes a Knee

Montreal Impact boss Thierry Henry took a knee before his side’s MLS game against New England Revolution to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Henry took the knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as a symbol of protest against the officer who knelt at George Floyd's neck for the same amount of time causing his death.

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"It was just to pay tribute and show support to the cause. That was basically it and pretty simple." said Henry.

A day before the game, several MLS players joined a pre-match anti-racism demonstration as football resumed in the US for the first time since March after the coronavirus lockdown.

In the first game of teh restart, between Orlando and Inter Miami, dozens of MLS players gathered on the pitch before kick-off and raised their fist for eight minutes and 46 seconds. The games are part of the ‘MLS is Back’ Tournament, which follows a group stage and knockout format and runs until 11 August. All games are being played in Orlando, Florida.

VAR Inconsistency at Premier League

A former Premier League referee working with the League matches said all the match decisions for penalties by the Video Assistance Referee (VAR) in all three fixtures on Thursday were incorrect. His claims have been bolstered by the League admitting the same publicly.

Many former referees and pundits have come forward to criticise how things unfolded in all of Thursday’s games. The Premier League confirmed to the BBC’s Match of the Day programme that Manchester United and Southampton should not have been given penalties in their games, but Tottenham should have been awarded one.

In a boost to the system though FIFA is expected to take over the universal use of VAR in the game after the end of a four-year experiment cycle as it was phased into elite football. Football’s law body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) was overlooking the working of VAR at the initial stage. The global governing body will be expected to insist on greater consistency across more than 100 global leagues, on issues such as the use of pitchside monitors. Many leagues opt out of using pitch side monitors and limit their usage to ensure the game is not slowed down.

Earlier, former World Cup referee and chairman of FIFA's Referees' Committee, Pierluigi Collina, said  FIFA did not want to be in a situation where the players in an international tournament encountered surprise decisions.

Rate of Physical Evolution in Women's Game

A research done on the 2019 Women’s World Cup, has found a huge physical evolution of the women’s game. According to the study, changes in the women's game in just four years matched that of the Premier League’s seven years from 2006.

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The 169-page report -- produced by Dr Paul Bradley, a reader in sports performance at Liverpool John Moores University and a consultant for Barcelona, and England’s physical performance manager, Dawn Scott -- found that players were covering more distance in 2019 and at higher speeds that those recorded at the 2015 World Cup in Canada. In a FIFA webinar Bradley, launched the report also shedding light on the comparison with the Premier League.

“There was a commonly held belief in the media and within the game itself that the game had evolved physically and it just lacked a bit of evidence,” Bradley said. 

With the help of a multi-camera computerised tracking system the researchers studied 436 players who were a part of the 2019 tournament to find an increase of approximately 15-30% in intense running distance across positions from 2015 to 2019. In comparison, they found that this increase was near identical to changes over seven years in the Premier League. The data on the Premier League came from a study done between 2006-13.

The report also suggested England “had by far the biggest increases in both technical elements and the highest-intensity distances and efforts completed during games”, with the highest ball possession from any of the semi-finalists. The USa, who won both the 2015 and 2019 editions, by comparison had the lowest increase in physical output.

Possible Barca-Bayern Clash 

The draw for the final eight in the Champions League has opened up the possibility of several block buster matches in the offing with Bayern Munich likely to play Barcelona or Napoli provided the German club manage to defend their three lead against Chelsea in their last-16 tie game. 

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The Champions League will be held as a knockout tournament in August in Lisbon after the remaining last 16 second leg games are determined. European football’s governing body have also ruled that all the remaining second leg fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League will be played at the home stadium of teams as originally scheduled. 

The move ends uncertainty over where the remaining last-16 matches involving English clubs would be played. It had been originally proposed that games be switched to a neutral venue because of the coronavirus pandemic. UEFA said it reserved the right to move matches still, however, if circumstances demanded.

This means Manchester City will host Real Madrid at the Etihad, while Chelsea will travel to play Bayern Munich.

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