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FIFA Approves Five Substitutions Per Game; Player Performance May Suffer Says Dimitar Berbatov and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): FIFA says rules changed to allow up to five subs per team in a match | Player performance may suffer behind closed doors, says Dimitar Berbatov | China FA draws up plans to complete 2020 CSL season | Premier League does not yet have 'green light', warns minister | "Feels Like I Am Being Harassed," Says Kyle Walker After Admitting Lockdown Breaches.
FIFA new substitutions rule

The change in the FIFA substitution rules will be applicable till the end of the year in all competitions yet to finish (Pic: Twitter, Daily Guide network).

FIFA approved a brief amendment to its rules on May 8, allowing teams to deploy as many as five substitutions per game, instead of the usual three. This has been introduced as a measure to deal with the potential fixture congestion after action restarts post lockdown.

The change in the rules will be applicable till the end of the year in all competitions yet to finish. It will be up to individual competition organisers, though, to implement it.

Also Read | Professional Athletes ‘More Vulnerable’ to Covid-19

Football’s global rule-making body International Football Association Board (IFAB) has agreed with the rules ‘based on a proposal received from FIFA seeking to protect player welfare’. Last week the IFAB said it was working with FIFA on a ‘temporary dispensation of Law 3 (The Players) allowing competitions to give teams the option to use a maximum of five substitutes on up to three occasions during the match, plus at half-time.’

To avoid disruption to games, each team is going to make substitutions in a maximum of three slots along with the halftime interval.

‘Player Performance May Suffer’

Dimitar Berbatov on lockdown

Former Manchester United and Kerala Blasters striker Dimitar Berbatov

Former Manchester United (and Kerala Blasters) striker Dimitar Berbatov fears players’ performance could suffer if games are played without spectators in stadiums.

Also Read | Sania Mirza: Women Still Have it Tough to Pursue Sport as a Career in India

A number of leagues around the world plan to resume after the coronavirus stoppage is lifted in the coming weeks but matches are set to be played without fans.

“Playing behind closed doors isn’t going to be the same and everybody knows that. It will be quiet and you will be able to hear all the players talking on the pitch and communicating with their coaches,” Berbatov told Betfair.  

The 39-year-old Bulgarian, his country’s all-time leading scorer with 48 goals, also played for Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in the English top flight as well as German club Bayer Leverkusen and AS Monaco in France. He played for the Kerala Blasters for a single season in 2017-18.

China FA’s Plans for 2020 CSL Season

CSL 2020 to start with just Chinese players

Chinese Super League 2020 season is likely to start with just the local players.

The Chinese Super League (CSL) season is likely to start in June, with the country’s football association preparing to complete the campaign that was put to halt due to the pandemic. The league was supposed to start on Feb. 22 but was pushed back because of the coronavirus outbreak, which infected more than 82,000 people in China, killing 4,633.

Also Read | Jarnail Singh: The Tough Guy of Indian Football’s Golden Era

“Plan A is to finish the season with 30 rounds,” a statement released by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) said. “We have a Plan B if the league were to kick off in late June and finish in December, and we have also designed Plan C for a later restart,” President Chen Xuyuan was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Chen said matches in the early part of the season are going to be played without spectators in attendance and then they will be gradually allowed into venues.

Earlier, The CFA also announced a proposal that could allow clubs to cut salaries of players and coaches by up to 50% to help fight the financial impact of the pandemic.

No 'Green Light' for Premier League Yet

On Friday, the Culture Secretary of Britain, Oliver Dowden cautioned all stakeholders about raising their hopes of resumption of the Premier League season. Dowden clarified that the Premier League does not yet have the government’s green light to resume the season. 

Premier League clubs are yet to discuss the latest plan for ‘Project Restart on Monday, a day later after some relaxation was reinstated in the country’s lockdown. 

"They've not been given the green light," Dowden told BBC Radio on Friday. "If we can get a plan that works then I'd like us to be able to go ahead with it because I think it would be good for the nation, it would be good for football as a whole.” 

Dowden’s statement arrived just as a formal football policing commander, sounded his disapproval of the plan for neutral venues when the season does restart. Owen West, told the Guardian that he does not ‘see the rationale for regional hubs.’

West insisted that the idea had no merit and would alienate supporters by presuming they would flout guidelines of social distancing by unsafely gathering outside grounds. 

“I believe football clubs, in their localities, can play a leadership role in the crisis, hosting matches when they are allowed, and giving guidance to their supporters about the social distancing and other measures required to keep safe,” he added.

Walker Feels He is Being Harassed

Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker of Manchester City FC

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker said that he is being ‘harassed’ after he was reportedly accused of flouting several lockdown rules. 

The 29-year old defender was accused of breaching coronavirus protocols to visit his family. Last month, he was criticized and was compelled to issue a public apology after media reports claimed that he hosted a party at his home. 

On May 7, Walker posted a statement on Twitter that said, "I feel as though I have stayed silent for long enough. In light of the most recent article published about me and my family, I feel as though I have no choice but to address things publicly. I have recently gone through one of the toughest periods of my life, which I take full responsibility for.”

The statement further added: "However, I now feel as though I am being harassed. This is no longer solely affecting me, but affecting the health of my family and my young children too. Being in the public eye as a professional athlete does not make you immune to this. It is sad, but I feel as though my life is being scrutinised without any context. I understand if people are upset or angry with me, but it was important for people to have a better understanding of my life. Thank you for taking the time to hear my feelings."

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