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FIFA Proposes Five Substitutes Once Football Resumes, East Bengal Terminate Player Contracts and More (Football Round-up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): FIFA proposes five substitutes instead of three per match once football action resumes | East Bengal prematurely terminate player contracts citing Covid-19 pandemic | Unable to receive FIFA financial support due to sanctions, says Iran | Premier League targets return behind closed doors in June | Arsenal become the first Premier League club to return to training.
FIFA proposes to increase substitutions during matches

FIFA’s proposal of increasing substittions will require the approval of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s law making body and the leagues (Pic: Twitter, BBC Merseyside Sport).

FIFA has proposed five substitutes instead of three per match by teams. The rule has been suggested as an interim measure to avoid needless interruptions with the awareness of long layoffs and an expectation of a high volume of fixtures when action resumes. 

“When competitions resume, they are likely to face a congested match calendar with a higher than normal frequency of matches played in consecutive weeks,” a FIFA spokesperson said. 

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FIFA’s proposal will require the approval of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s law making body and the ultimate decision will depend upon the leagues themselves. 

Many more such interventions have been suggested over the past week to aid players and staff once the game resumes. Rafa Ramos, President of the association of Spanish football club doctors, said that balls and pitches need to be sterilized frequently to decrease the chances of players getting infected with coronavirus. “All the material, even the pitches, will have to be sterilised before a match, at halftime and afterwards,” Ramos told newspaper El Pais on Sunday.

Although a return date has not yet been decided, Spain’s football administration have been making plans to complete the current season to avoid calamitous financial doom.

East Bengal Terminate Player Contracts

East Bengal player contracts

East Bengal players to approach FPAI for intervention in the contracts dispute with the club (Pic: AIFF Media).

East Bengal, while trying to cope up with expenses that have come with the coronavirus pandemic, have terminated all the existing contracts, citing ‘Force Majeure’.

Left with no option, the players are now knocking the doors of the Football Players Association of India (FPAI) which has offered its full support and took the matter forward with the world body for players (FIFPro).

Confirming this, East Bengal’s top Spanish winger Jaime Santos Colado said the entire team doesn’t confirm with the decision.

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“This is true, they have terminated our contracts citing the Covid-19 pandemic (Force Majeure). The entire team disagrees with that decision, we hope to reach an agreement soon. We are working on that,” the 24-year-old, who has two more years’ contract left, told PTI.

Along with the decision to terminate contracts, the club also decided to retain Mario Rivera as the head coach of East Bengal, for the time being.

A few more meetings between the two parties have been held since. The club is keen on reposing faith in Mario since he has been familiar with Indian football,” a source was quoted saying.

Rivera took over as the head coach when Alejandro Menendez cut ties with the club at the beginning of the year, and his assistants had a meeting with a team of senior club officials along with two former players Alvito D’Cunha and Chandan Das. In the meeting, the Spanish coach was offered a place to help continue building the team in the next season.

Iran Unable to Receive FIFA Aid

The Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) has raised concerns regarding not being able to receive financial assistance from FIFA due sanctions that are in place on the country’s banking system.

FIFA announced it is going to provide financial aid of $150 million to member associations over the next few days as the first step of a relief plan to help the football community impacted by the pandemic. Each member association is expected to receive $500,000, along with any other funds that were due to receive.

However, FFIRI is having severe problems in receiving financial assistance from FIFA as the US restrictions on Iran’s banking system are still in order.

Ali Soleimani, the Treasurer of FFIRI, said the sanctions against Iran are in place, and “FIFA has not yet found a safe solution to pay the revenues of Iranian football and I think the problem with this financial assistance remains the same,” the Tehran Times daily reported on Sunday.

“Many efforts have been made in this regard, but we have not reached a suitable solution.” he added.

Premier League Return Update 

The Premier League plans on returning behind closed doors and has decided to discuss the matter further this week. Twenty clubs are expected to discuss the matter via conference later this week but resumption of games depends ultimately on government approval.  

Major leagues under lockdown have all been planning to return to competition football, even as the Covid-19 crisis continues to spread across countries. The Spanish health minister has asked his countrymen to brace themselves to the fact that professional football may not return before the summer. Football in Spain has been halted since March 12 to help contain a pandemic that has claimed more than 22,000 lives. 

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"It would be reckless for me to say now that professional football will be back before the summer," Salvador Illa said on Sunday. "We will continue to monitor the evolution (of the virus) and the guidelines we will present will indicate how different activities can return to a new normalcy."

In Italy meanwhile, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, declared that professional sports teams can resume training on May 18 opening conversations about the Serie A resuming in June. 

Arsenal Resume Training

ARsenal players

Arsenal FC players will train keeping social distancing norms (Pic: Twitter, Arsenal News Channel).

Arsenal players became the first in the Premier League to return to training after 47 days of isolation at Hertfordshire complex in Colney, London on Monday. The players arrived in small groups for individual training work, though attendance was not compulsory.

With indications that they could resume games behind closed doors in mid-June, it is essential for players to get back into shape and improve their fitness levels after weeks of training alone at home. 

Training, however, resumes with strict social distancing measures. Not more than five players were allowed on each of the ten pitches of the complex at once, sessions lasted for an hour and players arrived and departed from the ground on a strict rotation. 

There was a group of small staff in attendance. However it was uncertain if their manager, Mikel Arteta, who tested positive for the virus last month was present for the training session or not. 

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