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Criminal Proceedings Against Infantino Grotesque and Unfair, Says FIFA; Five Zonal Talent Hunt Committees to be Formed by Sports Ministry and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): FIFA: criminal proceedings against Gianni Infantino grotesque and absurd | Union Sports Ministry to form five zonal talent hunt committees to identify talent as part of a larger plan for FIFA World Cup qualification in future | FA issues guidelines for referees on field | Manchester United in advanced talks with Dortmund over Jadon Sancho | Brothers Amarjit, Jeakson inspired me to play football, says Kritina.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino

Swiss prosecutors last week started legal proceedings against FIFA president Gianni Infantino with regard to an alleged secret meeting with Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber

In a statement, the world’s governing body for football, FIFA has called the criminal case against Gianni Infantino ‘grotesque and absurd unfair’. 

Swiss prosecutors last week started legal proceedings against the FIFA president with regard to an alleged secret meeting with Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber. Lauber and Infantino have denied the allegations against them. During the criminal investigation Infantino shall  remain the president of FIFA.

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“There is no factual basis whatsoever for this criminal investigation,” FIFA deputy general secretary Alasdair Bell said at a news conference via  video. “There is no description of criminal conduct of any kind that has been communicated to FIFA. There is something a little grotesque and unfair in all this because we are 100% confident there will never be a criminal charge against the FIFA president.”

FIFA said that, at the time of the meetings held in 2016 and 2017, the Attorney General’s Office was conducting investigations in more than 20 cases related to a scandal in which FIFA became embroiled before Infantino was elected president in 2016.

“You go to the most senior law officer in the country to offer information for a criminal investigation and then you end up being a subject of a criminal investigation yourself,” Bell said.

Indian Football Talent Hunt

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju announced the formation of five zonal committees to hunt talent all over the country in an effort to turn India into a footballing powerhouse. 

“We will form five talent scouting committees in the next few months, one for each zone — North, South, East, West and Northeast — under Khelo India Programme of SAI in partnership with AIFF,” Mr. Rijiju said in a virtual programme organised by Football Delhi to celebrate the 36th birthday of Sunil Chhetri.

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“We cannot go with the usual approach, we have to go deeper in a professional way. It will be the most aggressive exercise we have ever done. We have to find talented children below 12 years from every nook and corner of the country whether it is Northeast, the tribal areas of Central India, Coastal areas, South or North.”

He added that the conceptualisation of the talent hunt will be with the objective of qualifying for the World Cup and Olympics in the coming 10-15 years. “We have to start now with children below 12 if we want to qualify for the Olympics and World Cup in 10-15 years. I am confident that we can do this. In the government’s plan to make India a sporting powerhouse, football will have to be the mainstay. It cannot be left behind, it’s the world’s most popular game.”

Deliberate Coughing a Foul 

The English FA has issued new guidelines that states players will be handed red or yellow cards if they intentionally cough at opponents and referees in the view of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The new instructions come into force immediately and will be implemented at all levels of the game by referees. 

Documents issued by the FA for referees, explain that these measures should be applied when “the referee is certain someone deliberately, and from close range, coughed into the face of an opponent or match official...”

“It added that the offence would fall under the category of “using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures”. “If the incident was not severe enough to merit a sending-off, a caution could be issued for “unsporting behaviour - showing a lack of respect for the game.”

The document further stated that referees restrain from punishing players for ‘routine coughing’ and restrict players from spitting on the ground.

United to sign Sancho

Negotiations between Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund to sign Jado Sancho for €100 million ($117 million) are at an advanced stage. The fee would be a transfer record for an English player.  

Sancho has been tracked by United for a while now. Although the deal has yet to be confirmed by Dortmund, it is assumed that the fees will be transferred in installments over two or three seasons. In addition the German club would obtain an additional €20 million ($23.4 million) for performance related add-ons.  

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If United manage to sign Sancho, its will be the second time they break the transfer record for an English player, having signed Harry Maguire for £85 million ($111 million) from Leicester last summer. 

Sancho was part of England’s Under-17 World Cup-winning squad in 2017 and has 11 caps for England. United also hope to offload Alexis Sanchez on a permanent transfer to Inter soon. The Chilean has two years left on his £390,000 contract. Inter are willing to offer him his current wages for one year of a three year deal to help facilitate the move.

Kritina's Inspiration

Brothers Jeakson Singh Thounaojam and Amarjit Singh Kiyam have inspired cousin Kritina Devi Thounaojam to be a footballer.

Kritina Devi Thounaojam

“I was inspired to play football seeing my brothers. Amarjit and Jeakson taught me so much. We trained together whenever they would come back to our village. Practising with them always made me very happy,” Kritina, who is likely to be a part of the Indian U-17 Women team for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup told the

“It was amazing when I saw them playing in the World Cup. That motivates me to play in the World Cup as well. It will be a proud moment if we have three World Cuppers from the family,” she said.

Reminiscing about the past Amarjit talked about a time when all three of them took their first lessons from the same coach and sometimes Kritina would be the only girl present. 

“All of us used to train together under Jeakson’s father (Deben Singh) — he was our first coach. There were other players as well with us. The first girl to have joined was Kritina. There were times when she was the only girl amongst us and would also play for our local team,” Amarjit, said. 

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